Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scavenger hunt details

Okay, here are the details about the scavenger hunt Red Rose Publishing is running the month of July (mentioned in my previous blog entry):

"Starting July 1st, a reader will start by clicking the RRP icon on the Red Rose website (on the Contest Page). That will take them to the first participating author's website. When they find where that author has hidden the icon, they'll click the icon, which will take them to the next author. And so on until they reach the end, back at the RRP Contest Page. From there, they'll email their list of where they found all the icons to a prepared email addy."

On July 31, four winners will be chosen from among the correct entries. The prize breakdown consists of:
  • Grand Prize - Rose Watch
  • First Prize - 8 eBooks and an RRP tote bag
  • Second Prize - 5 eBooks
  • Third Prize - 2 eBooks
If you have any questions about the contest, go to the contest page on the publisher's website and read the contest rules.

Good luck!


Online scavenger hunt coming July 1

My publisher (of the upcoming novel, Sunrise Destiny) is hosting an online scavenger hunt that will span the websites of many of Red Rose Publishing's authors. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about the authors and their books. The top prizes for winners will consist of bundles of books from the publisher.

I'll post more details in the next day or so (but before July 1) when I get them. So check back by June 30 for the starting link.

Have fun!


Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 41)

80 words down and who-knows-how-many more to go. Here are some more:

Verses vs. Versus

Wrong: It was man verses beast.
Right: It was man versus beast.
Right: It was man vs. beast.

Verses strictly refers to lines of poetry, while versus means “against” or “in contrast to” and is often abbreviated as vs. (Be sure to always include the period, even in the middle of a sentence.)

Amount vs. number or quantity

Wrong: We need to collect a larger amount of cans than last year.
Right: We need to collect a larger number of cans than last year.

Use amount when referring to something that can’t be counted. For example, “The storm deposited a large amount of sand on the shore.” Use number or quantity when writing about something that can be counted. “No amount of money can make up for the number of lives lost in the disaster.” (Why did I use amount instead of number with “money”? After all, we can count money, can’t we? Well, just how many monies were we talking about?)

I have plenty more of these to go. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 40)

Big surprise, here are some more commonly abused words:

Proceed vs. precede

Wrong: He proceded to cross the street.
Right: He proceeded to cross the street.
Wrong: She preceeded him across the street.
Right: She preceded him across the street.

The spelling of these two words seem to confuse many people, who spell both words as if they’re the same except for the first vowel. It’s not that difficult if you can remember “one E before and one E after” and that the O is followed by two Es.

Asterik vs. asterisk

Wrong: Be sure to footnote that point with an asterik.
Right: Be sure to footnote that point with an asterisk.

I’ve seen asterisk (rhymes with risk) misspelled (and heard it mispronounced) as asterik many times. (It seems to be mispronounced almost as often as “athalete.”) Be sure to include the second S both in your writing and in your pronunciation.

There are plenty more where these came from. Come back soon.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 39)

Here are some more oft-misused words and phrases:

Rain vs. rein vs. reign

Wrong: He needs to reign in his enthusiasm.
Right: He needs to rein in his enthusiasm.

Wrong: There was much upheaval during the rain of King Charles.
Right: There was much upheaval during the reign of King Charles.

To reign is to rule (or it’s the period during which a ruler is in power), while reins are used to control a horse or other beast of burden. Don’t let an editor rain on your parade because you used reign or rein incorrectly.

Lay low vs. lie low

Wrong: We have to lay low for now.
Right: We have to lie low for now.

This is another case of confusion between lay and lie (addressed in an earlier post). To lay low is to kill or defeat a foe, or to knock someone down. To lie low is to conceal oneself or to bide one’s time. You might lie low until the time is ripe to lay low your enemies. (And if the time isn't yet ripe, let it sit out in the sun a little longer....)

More next time.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 38)

Want more frequently misused words, phrases, and punctuation? Ready or not, here they come:

Could care less vs. couldn’t care less

Wrong: I could care less what you do.
Right: I couldn’t care less what you do.

Saying I couldn’t care less about something means that nothing interests you less. On the other hand, I could care less implies that you must care something about it, because you could possibly care less about it than you do now.


Wrong: Well….I guess we should turn left.
Right: Well…I guess we should turn left.
Wrong: I-I don’t know…
Right: I-I don’t know….
Right: John Q. Smith was born in 1803. … During his formative years, he lived in London.
Right: John Q. Smith was born in 1803. …He lived in London.

I see a lot of confusion in the use of ellipses (the plural of ellipsis), yet they’re quite easy to use. An ellipsis consists of three consecutive periods and is used in fiction to indicate a pause in dialog (perhaps for thought) in the middle of a sentence or sometimes the tailing off of a voice at the end of a sentence. In nonfiction writing, it’s used to indicate deleted text.

When used at the end of a sentence, follow the ellipsis with a fourth period to end the sentence. At the beginning of a sentence, use three periods. When indicating a passage deleted between sentences, use three periods set off by a space before and after the ellipsis (just as you’d set off a sentence).

Notes: If you use Microsoft Word, you’ll discover that when you type three consecutive periods, Word’s AutoCorrect feature will replace them with an ellipsis character. You won’t be able to insert your cursor between the periods, but you will between the ellipsis and the ending period. Some publishers insist that you insert spaces between the periods for formatting purposes. This is not typical usage; however, if that’s what the publisher wants.

I have plenty of more words to go, so don't forget to come back.


Monday, June 9, 2008


It’s been said that inspiration can come from anywhere, if only you pay attention. I can certainly attest to that.

One Friday afternoon, while driving home from work, I decided to come up with a catchy name for a character. I didn’t have a character in mind; neither did I have a story. I just decided that I wanted a catchy character name—along the lines of Luke Skywalker or Lazarus Long—for a future story.

So there I was, driving along, and I passed a breakfast restaurant called the Sunrise Biscuit Company. I thought, “Hmm, Sunrise might be an interesting surname for a character. But I need an equally interesting given name to go along with it.” Within seconds, I came up with Donatello. I have no idea why. But as soon as I said “Donatello Sunrise,” I knew it was the name I was looking for.

Then I got to thinking about what sort of character would have a name like that. I immediately thought of a private detective. Then I thought “’20s/’30s private dick, gun moll, organized crime.” I decided instead to set the story in the near future, but have him be something of a throwback to the days of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. I actually started writing dialog in my head, hearing Humphrey Bogart speaking the lines.

In the fifteen minutes it took me to reach home, I had the first few scenes outlined in my head. I wasn’t sure whether it would end up being a short story or something longer, and I didn’t really have a story outline, just a premise: a futuristic private detective, with a neural implant to help him, is investigating a series of kidnappings—but I started writing. By Sunday night, I had two chapters written and was well on my way to finishing my third novel.

The resulting 101,000-word novel is called Sunrise Destiny and I sold it to Red Rose Publishing a few weeks ago. And it all came from one word: Sunrise. How’s that for inspiration?


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 37)

And here we have yet more words that are often mangled in writing:

To coin a phrase

Wrong: All’s well that ends well, to coin a phrase.
Right: All’s well that ends well, to borrow a phrase.

To coin a phrase means to create (coin) a new phrase; yet it’s most often used when reiterating a cliché. If you’re going to coin a phrase, then—please—actually coin one.

Moral vs. morale

Wrong: That victory was a great moral booster.
Right: That victory was a great morale booster.

Morale (rhymes with horse corral) refers to one’s mental and emotional state regarding confidence, cheerfulness, zeal, etc. A moral (rhymes with coral reef) relates to the principles and rules of proper conduct and the difference between right and wrong. (“The moral of the story is….”) One can be a moral or amoral or immoral person and yet still be the company morale officer.

I'll have more words for you next time. Y'all come back now, y'hear?


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 36)

Here are some more words that writers often misuse:

Adequate vs. sufficient

Wrong: Make sure you take adequate time to decide.
Right: Make sure you take sufficient time to decide.

The relationship of sufficient to adequate is one of quantity vs. quality. Sufficient means “enough,” while adequate means “good enough.” You may have a sufficient quantity of food for your needs, but you still have to consider whether the nutritional quality is adequate as well.

Shammy vs. chamois

Wrong: Grab a shammy and start drying the car.
Right: Grab a chamois and start drying the car.

A chamois is a European antelope whose hide is used to make soft leather. Chamois also refers to a cotton fabric made to resemble chamois leather. Shammy is merely a phonetic spelling of chamois.

Please return soon for more words.