June 28, 2012

Exciting Mid-Week Announcement!

Just a brief post to show off my new book, The Moms Place. What's The Moms Place about? I'm glad you asked! Here's what is says on the back of the book:

     The Power of Advertising
     Cassi Spencer's upscale restaurant is in trouble. She needs a loan, fast, not advice to spend money she doesn't have on advertising. Especially when that advice comes from the distractingly handsome Rhys Morgan!
     Rhys Morgan likes Cassi's idea of creating a training ground to get homeless moms out of the shelters. He likes Cassi even better, and he’s willing to help her...under certain conditions.
     Together, can they save Cassi's livelihood and her dream, or will everything end up as yesterday's news?

Because of those nasty "circumstances beyond my control", The Moms Place is being published on the day before I leave town for a week. This means there is not yet an ebook available, and there is not a page on my website linking to the book. For at least the next week, and maybe for a few days after that, the only way to purchase this book is in print, through this link: The Moms Place. I'll get the ebooks up as soon as I can, but between my sister's wedding and non-refundable tickets, I can't move the trip around.

This is also a great time to introduce my new partner, Jenna. Jenna plotted this book, and helped write it, even before she realized she wanted to be a writer. It's an excellent romance, and I hope you'll enjoy it.


June 26, 2012

Are you all ready already?

The phrase "all ready" means completely ready, or prepared. You are all, completely, ready. (My son is all ready for his big date). (The car is clean and gassed up all ready for prom night.)

The word "already" can be used to mean "previously" (He already left to pick up his date), or "so soon" (I can't believe he's already old enough to go to prom.)

Keep them apart by remembering that if you're completely ready, you are all ready, while if you're worried about the passage of time, it's already later than you think!


June 19, 2012

He said that she said what?

Everyone knows that one little line that looks like this ' is an apostrophe, and is used either to show missing letters or possession. Everyone also knows that two little lines that look like this " is a quotation mark, and is used when you are making a direct quote. However, what if your book character is speaking, and quoting something someone else already said?

That's when you need to know how to use single quote marks as well as double quote marks. Here's how they work.

If I am quoting something Jim said, I would write: Jim said, "Let's go to the store."

If I am quoting something Jim said, and he is quoting Steven, I would write: Jim said, "I wish more people would listen to my friend Steven when he says, 'People should live by the golden rule.' Then the world would be a much nicer place."

Note that what Steven said has single quote marks, while everything that Jim said, both before and after Steven's sentence, is enclosed in double quotation marks.

Although this happens fairly often in real life, as a general rule, don't do this often in fiction because it can be confusing to your readers.


June 12, 2012

Affect the Effect

Affect and effect are two of the most commonly abused words on the internet. It gets even more complicated when people try to explain the difference, because both words have multiple meanings, and both words are nouns as well as verbs.

Affect, as a verb, has two meanings: 1) to act upon or to move. (His words moved the crowd so deeply that many in the audience wept.) His words affected their emotions. 2) to pretend, or assume. (The nouveau riche wench tried to pretend she knew how to act in polite society and failed extravagantly.) Her affectation of the mannerisms of rich people only showed off her new-found money and snobbery.

Affect, as a noun, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. It is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable and refers to emotions.

Effect, as a verb, means to accomplish, to bring about, or to make happen. (Her hard work and diligence effected a change in the appearance of the neighborhood.)

Effect as a noun means a result or consequence. (There's a new study out on the damaging effects of excessive caffeine on the nervous system.)

The most often used forms of the words are affect meaning to act upon; and effect meaning a result. Remember them this way. The act comes before the result. Affect comes before effect in the dictionary. Her speech affected the crowd, causing quite an effect.


June 05, 2012

Who fused my comma splice?

A run-on sentence is actually two or more sentences shoved into the same space. The two most common varieties of run-on sentences are the fused sentence, and the comma splice.

A fused sentence is easy to spot, as it doesn't make much sense the way it is written. A good example of a fused sentence is, "We love the beach we go every summer." This is made of two independent clauses strung together without benefit of punctuation. (A clause is an idea. An independent clause is an idea which is complete and can stand alone.) The clause "we love the beach", and the clause "we go every summer" are actually two separate ideas. The way to correct a fused sentence is to separate them with a period and capitalize the second sentence. Our fused sentence should read, "We love the beach. We go every summer."

A comma splice is similar to a fused sentence, except it has a comma placed in the middle of it. "The milk had gone sour, I threw it out." is an example of a comma splice. Independent clauses ought to be separated by a period rather than a comma. This sort of run-on sentence is a lot harder to recognize, since the comma between the clauses simulates a natural speaking pause. Most comma-spliced sentences are quite long; this can make them difficult to read.
As a general rule of thumb, sentences in works of fiction should average thirteen words. This does not mean you should make every sentence thirteen words long. If all your sentences are exactly the same length, the prose becomes stilted and awkward. You need sentences of all lengths, both longer and shorter, but over the course of your manuscript, they should average near thirteen words each. If your average is a lot higher than thirteen words, start looking for fuses and comma splices that can be broken in half before you go rewriting some of your more elegant prose.


June 01, 2012

June Resolution Update

Welcome to June! In Arizona June means triple digit temperatures, excessive heat warnings,and generally high pressure. The humidity is still low enough to be comfortable, and this year the hurricane season hasn't really ramped up yet (though it has started), so my back is loving the weather and I'm starting to feel a lot better. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, what's the connection between hurricane season and weather in an inland state like Arizona? Pacific hurricanes, and some Gulf ones that strike Mexico, pour humidity into Arizona, so they do affect our weather. More importantly to me on a personal level, the arthritis in my back is so well developed that I'm affected by strong hurricanes up to a thousand miles from Phoenix, as well as really strong winter storms clear up in northern Idaho. So a quiet start to hurricane season means less pain for me, more energy, and a lot more productivity.

My resolutions for this year are to:
  • Graduate from college.
  • Write a new manuscript, something I haven't had time to do since I started college.
  • Take a vacation someplace out of Arizona.
  • Hug my daughter every day.
  • Learn how to make book trailers and post them to YouTube.
How am I doing?

I graduated! May 11 was the commencement ceremony, and I'd show off my pictures of my cap and gown with the yellow Phi Theta Kappa stole and tassel and the blue cord of highest distinction, except that those pictures all show my face, and I have a thing about putting my face on the Internet. May 15 I got an email from the college saying they'd checked my grades (all A's!), and all of my requirements were met, and my degree was posted. I can now put the letters AGS after my name. They also said they'd be mailing the paper diplomas out "starting in the first week of June", so I expect to get it soon so I can frame it and hang it on the wall of my office.

The new-manuscript writing is still scheduled for November, but I've been toying with the idea of also doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August. If a plot idea strikes me. Or a character starts bugging me. Right now the only characters bugging me are in things in editing stages. The Moms Place is still on schedule to be published by the end of June, and I'm also working on The Siege of Kwennjurat, hoping to get it finished and published sometime this fall.

We're getting excited about the trip to southern California at the end of this month and sneaking into the first part of July. (If my resolution blog post is a little late or early next month, it's because I'm crossing off resolutions.)

The daily hugging is doing wonders for relationships and attitudes.

And the book trailer project has been officially put off until next year. I have too many other things going on right now to work on that.

In other news, Anne has a new desk in her office, and we're working on reclaiming the room from the boxes and boxes of "to-be-filed" stuff. Filing has become my summer project, and I'm making good progress on it. I'm still working on the manually striped socks, and have got the first one past the heel, and am working toward the toe. I'm only making slow progress on the socks because I'm pretty tired out every evening. The being tired is from working hard to get myself to the point where I can walk around Disneyland without slowing Anne and Jenna down. Although I will be taking my walker to Disneyland with me, for a while I thought I'd be taking my wheelchair. Friday I was set out from the house to do errands. (I had to go to the bank, the library, the Wal-Mart supercenter for computer parts, Barnes & Noble, the hair salon, and the Wal-Mart neighborhood store for milk on the way home.) The best part of my day is that I didn't use my chair or my walker, and, for the first time in I don't remember how long, I was able to complete all my errands before running out of energy and giving up halfway through. I know that sounds pretty pathetic, but for me it was a major triumph. In May I read 30 books with a total of 4441 pages.