Grammar Problems

There is no doubt that the English language is changing rapidly. I have to force myself from committing the sin of all sins:  two spaces after a period.

We have all had our moments with Grammar Check and Spell Check.

A great alternative is Grammarly or Grammar Girl.  I highly recommend Grammar Greeks on LinkedIN —  great discussion threads.

And we all have our pet peeves.  After spending many years in the southwest, I found two expressions creeping into my vocabulary:  “just” and “y’all.”

“Y’all” seems to be holding its own, but “just’ just isn’t doing it.  I’m in a writers’ group.  I know I use that word a lot, but it is one man’s pet peeve.  Every time I read, we have the “just” discussion.  I’m trying!

Some of mine are in/into, few/less, effect/affect, and good/well — to name a few.

What are yours?


Oh Those Pesky Lawsuits!

Amazon and Hatchette have been in the news quite a bit lately.

That brought back memories of the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit which I spoke on in a previous blog.  That is now headed to Federal Court.

Anyway, I couldn’t remember how to spell “Ellora,” so I Googled Ebook lawsuits. OMG!

With any new, unexplored territory, lawsuits will burgeon.  I like to think people are fair and honest; some are and some are not.  You get used to that.  But publishing corporations are far more exploitative than I had realized, and scams abound.





Google Books:

Harper Lee, et al.:

MacMillan and Penguin intend to fight the lawsuit, at least for a time, strongly denying they colluded over prices and seeking to uphold the agency model that the launch of Apple’s iBooks helped introduce to the e-book market.

HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are also named in the Apple lawsuit.

Lance Armstrong:

Author Solutions:

Strategic Book Planning:

Barnes and Noble:

To avoid scams, check out contracts.  They are a minefield for authors, who may not have the knowledge or experience to recognize bad contract terms, or to grasp their implications. Don’t just assume your contract is OK, or take the publisher’s word that its terms are standard. Get qualified advice (if you seek legal counsel, be sure the lawyer has experience with publishing and is familiar with publishing contract terms, otherwise s/he may not be able to help you). Writer Beware will also answer questions if you email us.

Good luck.  Make wise choices.


A Very Bad Article On Word Choice.

Word Choice

Let The Words Flow

Oh wait I meant good!

Damn. Already my word choice is screwing me over.

Just like it screws over others.

Today I’m going to show you how easily really bad word choice can break the drama of the moment. I’m going to demonstrate this with an example based off a piece of work (which will not be named) containing the same maddening literary gaffe.

Take this riveting scene:

The stage is set for the heart-clenching rivalry between good and evil to explode. Many have been lost, and the casualties, not so casual to their friends, families, and lovers, are predicted to rise drastically in numbers. The hero is facing the villain, who has the hero’s dame of choice secure against him with a knife pressed to her neck. One wrong move and a love like no other will be lost, unleashing a sorrow of epic proportions.

“She’s dead now, Jack!”…

View original post 1,284 more words


Write for the Holidays

I was recently in a doctor’s office reading the Genetics magazine.  Aside from all the fantastic scientific discoveries soon coming our way, I got side tracked by one article.

The article suggested that during the holidays at family get- togethers that someone write down that information.  Yes, we have many stories about Uncle John and Aunt Susie and great-grandfather whoever, but those stories then disappear after the holidays are over and little kids certainly don’t make the connections.

That family get-together could be better than DNA testing.

Find a recorder (a person or device) and write down those stories.  The result:  a great database for health information or maybe a great novel.

At any rate, keep written records.  Family stories never lose their human interest value.

Happy holidays, everyone.


Back Cover Art

After concentrating on front cover art, I have moved on to back cover art. The back of the book is just as important as the front cover.

This discussion is probably moot if you are publishing only e-books, but I found an entire new world of design for physical books.

The front cover should catch your eye; the back cover should persuade you to buy. Your book back cover text is the foundation for your entire book marketing campaign.

The back copy shows attention to detail.

What you say on your back cover not only has the power to turn your book into a bestseller, it will also:

__ Position you as the obvious expert in your field
__ Get the attention of major media
__ Get you booked as a speaker
__ Help you command much higher consulting fees
__ Leverage your expertise into a lifelong stream of products and revenue


The following are some good articles and advice.

Joel Friedlander:



Watch my Pinterest page. A picture tells a thousand words. The new Harry Potter back cover is really fun.



The Color Turquoise??

After months of working with cover art, I find myself still fretting over color.

For three months, I spent part of every week marching six year olds through the bookstore. (I do apologize to the bookstore for the reign of terror I inflicted upon them!) I just sat at a little round table in the children’s section and watched. I wanted to know exactly what they were drawn to. I know not to judge a book by its cover, but I am guilty. However, children don’t know the rule. When they settled upon a book they wanted to buy, I asked, “Why?”

The answer to this question either involved hype or color. The girls brought me some soft colors — usually because of some princess hype. When we removed that from the equation, color won. The big bright colors came in first place: white with lots of red, yellow, and bright blue.

Rather predictable.

The teenagers who participated in this study did really surprise me. They chose books based on popular YA authors, and if there was a movie based on the novel, that made it more appealing. They didn’t mind reading the book AFTER watching the movie. I have never broken that rule.

I was amazed at the appeal of dystopian literature. The teen romance section had entirely escaped my radar screen. In the end, I still stood by my philosophy: color matters.

Then the color “turquoise” struck my internal color sensors (whatever that means) like lightning. One of my most recent tips concerned the future popularity of this color.

So I have been doing my homework, sans kids. I will sit in a section like YA fantasy and take mental notes of the colors. It never changes from store to store. That section is dominated by black, red, silver, and gold. I didn’t see turquoise on the scene. I moved to romance – maybe one or two covers, not dominant by any means.

I think I have now studied every section – I don’t see turquoise in the old sections or new arrivals.

A friend went with me on my last turquoise hunt. She cut to the chase and talked to the people who worked in the store. No, they were not aware of turquoise as the new up and coming color for cover design.

What do you think? If you are an author, do you envision your cover in turquoise? If you are a cover artist, are you using a lot of turquoise?

Stefano Zuffi’s Color In Art is a nice study and examination of color theory and its application in art. Separate chapters are dedicated to red, green, blue, yellow, gold, black, and white.

The best in-depth blog on cover design and color I have found is


Cover by permission of Johan Adkins.


RIP: The Aspostrophe?


Is it true?  Is this one little mark soon to be an extinct creature?  Are we purposely jettisoning the old in favor of ….?  Yes, you heard me:  extinction or …? Something?  Nothing?

I’ve heard this rumor for years now and wondered how we would get along without it.

So where are you in this seemingly ugly battle?

Can we get along with out it?

The Foolish, Malicious War on Apostrophe’s by John McWhorter

“Are Apostrophes Necessary?  No!”

Those who maintain to kill the apostrophe are growing in number.  In fact, George Bernard Shaw actually weighed in on this debate.

More recent authors are omitting the apostrophe entirely, using it only under specific circumstances or experimenting with it in unusual ways. “Why even bother with these uncouth bacilli that so befuddle and frustrate us?”

James Harbeck, blogger of “Kill the Apostrophe – we would all be better off without it!”  has some humorous, if not serious points.

For those grammarians out there, this article may make your point:  Mind your language.

If you can’t use an apostrophe, you don’t know your s***

The Apostrophe Protection Society was started in 2001 by John Richards, now its Chairman, with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language.

You may contact John Richards at

Both opinions (and blogs) are entertaining, but when it comes to your grammar usage, how do you weigh in?  Pro or Con?

Anxious to hear from you.