Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mary Worth Syndrome and Grammar Pet Peeves

I’m far from a grammarian. I don’t like to be a grammar snob. There’s just too many chances you’ll let your guard down, or that there’s something you think you know that you really don’t ----such as the fact that the past tense of “dive” is NOT “dove” but it is “dived.” Well, actually, both are used, but “dived” is older and the preferred---okay, now you see what we’ve done? We’ve taken a bit of the fun out of writing and turned to grammar issues.

Because I work with grammar extensively on my day job, when I do the blog, I confess, I let my grammar guard down. Way down. Because this is to be fun, and I use it as my stress release.

But there are a few things that always get to me. Always.

The Mary Worth Syndrome—i.e. use until abuse

Have you ever noticed that Mary Worth uses so many bleepin’ exclamation points all the time!!!!!!!! I mean, come on!!!!!!!! Mary, how many exclaimation marks do you need??????

Of course, I’m exaggerating. She’s backed off a bit now But seriously! If you end everything! With an explanation point! It loses it’s power! Mary Worth does that! A lot!

But on the plus side, the Mary Worth comic demonstrates that I can do some good girlfriend SMACKDOWN!

King Features Syndicate

Bad, comma, use

At this time I’m going to see if my friend, who I am calling the Comma Nazi (CN), would step in and do a special thing on commas. I’m not good with commas. I’ve gotten better. CN always helps me out with it. She would do a better blog post than I. It’s just that there are times when, DANG, it sure seems a comma would look good there…but commas are like that dress I see in the store that would look so good on me until I actually try it on…well, okay they are not at all like that…oh, let’s just move on.

And as Mary Worth demonstrates, Dawn can do some girlfriend SMACKDOWN!

(copyright, and apologies to, King Features Syndicate)


Unless you’re doing the Hemingway thing. Where you leave the room to die. In the rain. Alone.

That can be effective, though I confess, I probably overuse that technique a bit. When I’m on the couch. Watching South Park. With George Clooney.

Ensure / Insure Errors

I see this all the time. Even on “official” government stuff or stuff from folks who should know better.

Insure= insurance.

Ensure = to guarantee

To ensure you have a good time at the amusement park, get medical insurance in case you break your leg.

(yeah, I know that’s the worst sentence ever.)

OMG!! You used TEXT speech in your LOL paper? WTF???

One of these things is not like the other. Texting is for texting. Words are for writing. You wouldn’t go sailing in a Toyota Corolla.

And finally...

You're/ your.... their, they're, there...

You only get a pass if you were half asleep when you wrote it. (which, sad to say, has happened to me before. Sleep writing. It's all fun and games until someone gets their eye put out.)

Mother of God, people. Get it right. It's not rocket science.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Unexpected Inspirations: Chess the musical

Okay, I confess, I'm just putting this one up because it's fun.
LONG LIVE THE 80s!!!!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kindle book update

I am totally freaked out in a good way.

For the first time, my six-week royalty mark hit three digits. $100. Not a whole heck of a lot (well, it is for ME). But considering my total in royalties from out of print books last YEAR were $40 (or somewhere within that ballpark)..and I've more than doubled that in six weeks. Wow.

Soooo --- if you are an author and you haven't put your out of print books up there---get cracking.

Leaving the Comfort Cafe has by far been the best-seller.
My short story collection is doing stronger this month than my Saint Jude--which is about a teen with bipolar disorder.

So thanks to everyone for their support...
Right now my upcoming books are:
---World of Words -- this is a how-to memoir writing geared to newbie writers and English as a Second Language students. ETOA-- July.
--Ten Thousand New Year's Eves --- about different couples searching for meaning while trying to get to New York City. Kind of romantic. Kind of literary. Kind of strange--and well, kind of fun. One chapter is told from the point of view of a dog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unexpected Inspiration: Chess- the musical (part one)

Chess – part one.

This is easily my all-time favorite musical. It’s both dark and sweet at the same time. A bit disjointed---I think the script went through several re-writes—and it never quite got its niche, but is now a real cult favorite. The show was almost completely different for London vs. Broadway---and it seems it came around when US/ USSR relations were starting to get dicey again.

It’s the Tim Rice lyrics, man. The LYRICS. Bleepin' brilliant.

My all-time fave:

“Who need a dream,who needs ambition?

Who’d be the fool in my position?

Once I had dreams. Now they’re obsessions.

Hopes became needs. Lovers, possessions.”


Here-- for your enjoyment.
Though to be quite frank, I'd watch Josh Groban read the phone book for two hours.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bohemian Dream Walking

Sometimes I just hate myself.

You know, as a writer, as an artist--- and I over-romanticize everything, thinking that if I could but have the courage, I’d be running down the road with Jack Kerouac, living out of some hippie van saying, "Hells yeah!" and "down with the Man" and everything else.

Staying in hostels and hanging out with guys half my age and backpacking across Europe with $200 stuffed in my bra.

But I can’t say that.

At least, not if I want health insurance.

I confess, I like being comfortable.

I’m not wealthy by any remote stretch of the imagination. My car has more than 138,000 miles on it. I’m paying off some medical expenses. But I’m happy. I’m blessed to be employed. I’m even more blessed to have people who would actually be concerned if I didn’t show up for work.

And should I feel guilty about feeling incredibly blessed and thankful for it? Am I less than an artist?

So does that make me a betrayer to this bohemian ideal? Or is artistry something we [well, I] tend to over-romanticize?

Or does sometimes courage mean NOT doing that?

I think we tend to want to say as artists that we have to have one extreme or the other. That if you’re not busking in the square and eating Ramen noodles, that you’ve somehow missed the point. To suffer for your art. Anything less makes you a hack.

I don’t think either extreme is right. Or good. And it can cause some existential breakdowns like this one.

Though I do confess, there are many who suffer for their art, and I believe are better artists for the experience. I have ---as all writers have had---stories born out of pain.

It makes for the best writing.

But sure is a hell of a way to learn.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cliff's notes on the whole publishing brou-ha-ha

If you don't know how things in the publishing industry got to where they are now, this is a good article that basically outlines the whole shebang. [Not to be confused with "She--bang!  She --bang! Oh baby, she--bang!]

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Writing Retreat Weekend

I always joke that one of my favorite expressions in relation to my work life is "sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, the bear eats you."

The bear's been gnawing on me a lot this week, so I'm so excited to be at B's this weekend for our writing retreat. We're also celebrating some success we've had with our novels as a part of the Blog Tour de Troops [see earlier posts].

Sometimes I think I get so caught up in promoting and interacting that I forget to go back to my writing--it's like taking a long drink from something really wonderful and then realizing, 'why haven't I been doing this  more often?'

For those who don't know, I do write for a living. My "day job" deals with website writing, copywriting, newspaper articles, etc. My passion is writing fiction.

I'm hoping that in the next few years, I will be able to write fiction full-time.

NEXT WEEK: Unexpected Inspirations...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops Post Scripts

As mentioned earlier, 10,000 books were donated as a part of this blog tour, and SEVEN Kindles will be distributed to some lucky service men and women.

This information is from the Indie Book Collective:
We thought we would also share with you the Smashword rankings for some of the author's ebooks that you received:

A Walk in the Snark hit #1 in Entertainment

Play Fling hit #1 in Romance

Sand by Lili Tufel is #1 in Thriller and Suspense

Perfect Copy by Judith Gaines is #2 in Thriller and Suspense

The Writer by Augusto Pinaud is #4 in Thriller and Suspense

Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden is #1 in Fantasy

Sunset: Pact Arcanum by Arshad Ahsanuddin is #2 in Fantasy

Excuse me, My brains have stepped out by Pandora Poikilos is #1 in Women's Fiction

Pen, Paper, Action! by Sonia Rumzi is #2 in Women's Fiction

and the list goes on!!

** SIDEBAR: I'd like to add that my book, Leaving the Comfort Cafe is at #12 for OVERALL on Smashwords.

If you enjoyed your ebook, don't forget to leave a review as a thank you for their generosity! . Tune in to our IBC Blog Talk Radio Show on Tuesday at 430 pm PST, where we will announce the winner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Announcement! Blog Tour De Troops Results

 Wow. I hate to keep using that word over and over again, but I'm recovering from the amazing support that was given to our troops by those who commented and the genius of the great writers at the Indie Book Collective who came up with this idea.

Originally, the plan was to give TWO books per each comment--one for the person who left a comment and another for a soldier. However, each author has agreed to give anywhere from 3 to 5 books per comment---resulting in 10,000 books total to be given to the troops.

In edition, enough money was generated through participating authors to give away one Kindle to a commenter and SEVEN Kindles to the troops. Winners will be announced next Tuesday night on the IBC blog radio and I'll post here too.

Thank you all so much for participating.

My next novel "Ten Thousand New Year's Eves" is schedule for release in August. I'll keep you posted.