September 30, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway

My new book, The Siege of Kwennjurat, is coming out October 24. I got the proof copy in yesterday's mail. Here's the front cover, isn't it gorgeous?

For some reason, I'm more excited about The Siege of Kwennjurat being launched than the last several books. Maybe it's because I've been working on it for about 3 1/2 years. Maybe it's just that I'm excited that the rest of the story is finally available to everyone who enjoyed Tanella's Flight so much. Maybe it's just all the work I put into the front cover.

At any rate, keep your eyes on this blog because exciting things are going to be happening over the next month, and all of them will be announced here.

I'm giving away five copies of The Siege of Kwennjurat through Goodreads, so if you have a membership there, sign up for your chance to win an autographed copy. You can either sign up at Goodreads, or you can use the widget in the right-hand column of the blog.

I will be showing off the trailer for the new book in just a few days. During the next month, I also plan to host a hangout at Google+, give away signed books on this blog, and going on what I hope will be an international blog tour. The details for that aren't all quite arranged yet.


September 25, 2012

The Quixotic Nature of Serendipity

According to, the word serendipity is a noun meaning an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. The secondary meaning is simple good luck, as in something which has come to you, rather than wishing someone else good fortune.

Quixotic is an adjective which refers to the title character in Cervantes' work Don Quixote. The three official definitions are: resembling or befitting Don Quixote; extravagantly chivalrous or romantic, visionary, or impractical; and impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.

Quixotic serendipity would therefore be good luck which arrives in a highly unpredictable manner. I would hope my own serendipity is a little more reliable and a lot less quixotic.


September 18, 2012

We're Altogether All Together

I often wonder why English has so many words that sound like each other and mean different things. It would be a much easier language to master without this problem.

The word "altogether" means something is whole or complete. Altogether, the warning signs gave me the impression the edge of the cliff was a dangerous location.

The two-word phrase "all together" indicates that people are gathered in a group. Make sure the children are all together before we leave the museum.

Remember it this way. If it's complete, then the words are one complete piece, altogether. If you have to group the two words together, they stand for a grouping of people, all together.


September 11, 2012

Possession is nine tenths of the letter...

Today’s grammar lesson is courtesy of my friend Dzrt Bxr, who asked me to elaborate on the possessive forms of words which already end in an “s”.

Before I get to the possessive forms, I’d like to quickly review the rules on plurals. Today’s source material comes from Meredith College’s grammar page, found here.

The plural form is used when there is more than one of whatever it is that you’re talking about. To make most nouns plural, simply add an “s” to the end. If the singular word ends in s, z, ch, sh, or x, add “es” to the end. If the singular ends in y, drop the y and add “ies”. Irregular plural forms such as man/men, person/people, and species/species don’t conform to any rule and simply must be memorized. Never add an apostrophe when making a word plural.

The possessive form is used when whatever it is that you’re talking about owns or possesses something else. If the noun is singular, add an apostrophe and the letter “s” to the end. If the noun is singular and ends in an s, x, or z, add the apostrophe all by itself. Plural nouns that already end in “s” get only an apostrophe; plural nouns not ending in “s” get an apostrophe and “s”.

Sometimes you’ll have a sentence with a compound noun (more than one noun) as the subject of the sentence. This most commonly happens with people. If the people share joint ownership, then you only add the possessive to the second person, as in Jenna and Marie’s vacation reservations to Hawaii. If they each have individual ownership of similar items, add the possessive to both names, as in Marie’s and Jenna’s grades were similar over the course of their college careers. Marie’s grades are Marie’s, and Jenna’s are Jenna’s, and they are not necessarily the same grades, however, they share a single set of reservations for a trip to Hawaii.

Remember when to use an apostrophe this way: if something owns something else, then the sentence owns an apostrophe. If there’s no ownership involved, there should be no apostrophe involved.


September 04, 2012

A Peek at the Peak

Yet another homonym pair I often see getting abused.

A peak is the top of something; the highest point of a wizard's power, or the tippy-top of a mountain.

A peek is a quick look at something; a child peeking out from between her fingers, or a sneak peek of a book tucked in the back of another book.

Remember them this way: peAk has an "a" in it. "A" is for altitude, which is height. pEEk and EyE both have two of the letter "e" in them.


September 03, 2012

Update on Goals

My goals for this year began as: 
  • Graduate from college. (Accomplished)
  • Write a new manuscript, something I haven't had time to do since I started college.
  • Take a vacation someplace out of Arizona. (Accomplished)
  • Hug my daughter every day.
  • Learn how to make book trailers and post them to YouTube. (Accomplished!)
As I continue through the year, my evolving list of goals reads:
  • Write a new manuscript, something I haven't had time to so since I started college.
  • Hug my daughter every day.
  • Support my daughter as she takes her turn at college.
  • Finish editing The Siege of Kwennjurat and get it published.
My new manuscript, Crown of Tears was finished on August 25, a personal speed-writing record for me.

Our hugs have increased to multiple hugs per day, and let me tell you, my daughter gives really good hugs. On the school front, I check with her every day about her homework, asking about her assignments and following up to make sure she is turning them in on time.

I've finished the major rewrites on The Siege of Kwennjurat, and it is now being copy edited. I'm pleased to announce that it will be released on October 24th.

I learned new things about ebook formatting from my friend Green Tortuga, and am now in the processing of reformatting my ebooks to make them look better. Now that I've learned how to put pictures into ebooks, expect to find maps in the fantasy books after the reformatting is complete.

I also learned something from my new friend Paul Carroll, author of Balor Reborn. He taught me how to make video trailers for my books, and I started in with a trailer for Tanella's Flight. Earlier this year I had decided I wasn't going to be able to get to that this year, but things worked out otherwise. This shows me that what "they" say about goals is true. If you write it down and read it often, a way will be opened up for it to become accomplished, even when you don't know how it is going to happen. The trailer for Tanella's Flight can be seen here. You cal also view it below.

I'm still 3/4 of the way through knitting the same pair of socks. I haven't knit more than a couple of rows all month. However, I did begin work on another project that got put off because of school. Some two years ago I was involved in a quilt block swap with 11 online friends. We each made twelve blocks, sent them to a central location to be sorted, and received back twelve unique blocks, one from each friend. During August I embroidered each friend's name on her quilt block, and over this weekend I designed a reversible quilt, cut and sewed the back of the quilt, and have machine-quilted half the blocks. I also sewed two pillow cases from extra material that matched the back of the quilt. I expect to finish up the project in the next two or three days, and I promise to post pictures when I'm done.

I've read 33 books containing 3340 pages for pleasure reading this month. No, I'm not just reading short, 100-word books; some of the Mark Twain "books" on my nook are only a very few pages, but since they have a separate title page and a separate entry in the table of contents, I count them as a "book", even though they are sometimes only two pages long. I've also been reading 300-400 page novels, in fact, I re-read The Hobbit and all three of The Lord of The Rings during August.