Thursday, February 28, 2013

My poetry collection, Muddy-Fingered Midnights, is getting ever closer to ready. Here's my cover design, which was all kinds of fun (and hair-pulling hard) to design. Let's just say my Photoshop skills have grown in leaps and bounds.



Coming in mid-March!

Have you tried to acquire any new skills lately? What was your experience?
Thursday, February 28, 2013 Laurel Garver
My poetry collection, Muddy-Fingered Midnights, is getting ever closer to ready. Here's my cover design, which was all kinds of fun (and hair-pulling hard) to design. Let's just say my Photoshop skills have grown in leaps and bounds.



Coming in mid-March!

Have you tried to acquire any new skills lately? What was your experience?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When I was a kid, one of the most interesting things about staying at friends' houses was discovering just how differently their families approached the evening meal.

My family always ate around 6 p.m. It was a sit-down affair that began with my dad's meandering grace, and usually included two or even three vegetable sides with a casserole or meat and a starch. Hot tea was served nine months of the year. One was expected to have a "no-thank-you-helping" of any newly introduced food that looked unappetizing (a ritual that got easier once I learned to swallow things whole, like you would an aspirin).

We were expected to eat with a napkin in our laps, pass food in a clockwise direction and ask to be excused from the table after eating a portion of everything served, especially the prescribed number of vegetables. Conversation around the table was usually stories about our day, something strange we witnessed, or something interesting read about or heard. Sometimes my parents would share funny stories about family misadventures or their own childhoods. If my parents needed to make a major decision, the dinner table was not the place they'd discuss it.

At my friends' homes, however, dinner was sometimes a quite different affair. Some families ate catch-as-catch-can. Got takeout. Ate on tray tables in front of the TV. Some moms served as short-order cook for all three of the kids. Some families served buffet style. Some plated up portions like at a restaurant. Some sang a grace before meals. Some had silent head-bowed personal prayer. Some dove for the food with no thanks given at all.

Those rituals shape every person and family in deep ways. Here are some details to ask about your character's family dinner rituals:

Who prepares the food?
A parent? The family as a group? An extended family member? A live-in staff person? Faceless people from room service or Burger King's drive through? A handful of restaurants the character frequently patronizes?

Where is the food consumed?

In an eat-in kitchen? A formal dining room? An informal dining room? Kneeling around a low table in a common room? On a breezy porch? On tables in front of the TV? In whatever room the person carries his plate to?

What food items are considered appropriate?
Is there ethnic sameness or diversity in the types of cuisine? Is a special, restrictive diet followed? Is the food ultra-healthy, middling or complete junk food? Are portions large or small?

Who partakes of the meal?

Is everyone in the household seated together? Are certain household members excluded, such as staff or children or all females? Are pets allowed near or even seated at the table?

What behavior is considered appropriate?

Must you wait for everyone to be seated? May you leave as soon as you're finished? How is food served to each person? Is there a pre- or post-meal ritual such as prayer or candle-lighting? Is eating with hands expected or forbidden? How are spills and slurps and burps handled?

How do those around the table interact?
Must silence be maintained? Do only the elders initiate conversation? Do multiple conversations go on at once? Are all persons seated expected to take a turn talking while everyone else listens? Does everyone self-entertain with books or gadgets or the TV?

Thinking about dinnertime rituals can help you better understand--and better illustrate--the values of your characters and their families.

Is your protagonist's family dinner ritual the same as your own or different? Why?

*this is a repost from 2011
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Laurel Garver
When I was a kid, one of the most interesting things about staying at friends' houses was discovering just how differently their families approached the evening meal.

My family always ate around 6 p.m. It was a sit-down affair that began with my dad's meandering grace, and usually included two or even three vegetable sides with a casserole or meat and a starch. Hot tea was served nine months of the year. One was expected to have a "no-thank-you-helping" of any newly introduced food that looked unappetizing (a ritual that got easier once I learned to swallow things whole, like you would an aspirin).

We were expected to eat with a napkin in our laps, pass food in a clockwise direction and ask to be excused from the table after eating a portion of everything served, especially the prescribed number of vegetables. Conversation around the table was usually stories about our day, something strange we witnessed, or something interesting read about or heard. Sometimes my parents would share funny stories about family misadventures or their own childhoods. If my parents needed to make a major decision, the dinner table was not the place they'd discuss it.

At my friends' homes, however, dinner was sometimes a quite different affair. Some families ate catch-as-catch-can. Got takeout. Ate on tray tables in front of the TV. Some moms served as short-order cook for all three of the kids. Some families served buffet style. Some plated up portions like at a restaurant. Some sang a grace before meals. Some had silent head-bowed personal prayer. Some dove for the food with no thanks given at all.

Those rituals shape every person and family in deep ways. Here are some details to ask about your character's family dinner rituals:

Who prepares the food?
A parent? The family as a group? An extended family member? A live-in staff person? Faceless people from room service or Burger King's drive through? A handful of restaurants the character frequently patronizes?

Where is the food consumed?

In an eat-in kitchen? A formal dining room? An informal dining room? Kneeling around a low table in a common room? On a breezy porch? On tables in front of the TV? In whatever room the person carries his plate to?

What food items are considered appropriate?
Is there ethnic sameness or diversity in the types of cuisine? Is a special, restrictive diet followed? Is the food ultra-healthy, middling or complete junk food? Are portions large or small?

Who partakes of the meal?

Is everyone in the household seated together? Are certain household members excluded, such as staff or children or all females? Are pets allowed near or even seated at the table?

What behavior is considered appropriate?

Must you wait for everyone to be seated? May you leave as soon as you're finished? How is food served to each person? Is there a pre- or post-meal ritual such as prayer or candle-lighting? Is eating with hands expected or forbidden? How are spills and slurps and burps handled?

How do those around the table interact?
Must silence be maintained? Do only the elders initiate conversation? Do multiple conversations go on at once? Are all persons seated expected to take a turn talking while everyone else listens? Does everyone self-entertain with books or gadgets or the TV?

Thinking about dinnertime rituals can help you better understand--and better illustrate--the values of your characters and their families.

Is your protagonist's family dinner ritual the same as your own or different? Why?

*this is a repost from 2011

Friday, February 22, 2013


Photo: earl53 from morguefile.com
I've been hard at work putting together my first-ever poetry collection. It includes select pieces from my undergrad days up through the present, both previously published poems and a number of brand new pieces. It's an eclectic mix of lyrical, narrative, spiritual, humorous, experimental, and fiction-in-verse. I'm excited to share it with you all.

The collection is called Muddy-Fingered Midnights. The title comes from a line in my poem "A Writer's Parable," published in 2011 in the British journal Rubber Lemon (page 4).

To give you a little taste, I thought I'd share this short "ars poetica" piece (poem about the nature of poetry or the writing process) composed for the collection.


Affliction

In the decade between
dawn and alarm sound,
a new story swells
like a sprained ankle.
It pains you to wakefulness.
Dough-rising, volume-doubling,
pressing ever outward,
it stretches the sorry sock
that deigns to contain it.
Huge and purple it emerges,
in every sense an enormity.
The only medicine for it
is bloodletting, bard-style:
pen, paper, patient play.

© Laurel W. Garver, 2013

The collection will be available in mid-March. I'll be doing a cover reveal next week! Stay tuned.

National Poetry Month is coming up in April, and I'd love to visit some blogs to talk poetry. Let me know in the comments if you're willing to host a guest post, interview and/or giveaway.
Friday, February 22, 2013 Laurel Garver

Photo: earl53 from morguefile.com
I've been hard at work putting together my first-ever poetry collection. It includes select pieces from my undergrad days up through the present, both previously published poems and a number of brand new pieces. It's an eclectic mix of lyrical, narrative, spiritual, humorous, experimental, and fiction-in-verse. I'm excited to share it with you all.

The collection is called Muddy-Fingered Midnights. The title comes from a line in my poem "A Writer's Parable," published in 2011 in the British journal Rubber Lemon (page 4).

To give you a little taste, I thought I'd share this short "ars poetica" piece (poem about the nature of poetry or the writing process) composed for the collection.


Affliction

In the decade between
dawn and alarm sound,
a new story swells
like a sprained ankle.
It pains you to wakefulness.
Dough-rising, volume-doubling,
pressing ever outward,
it stretches the sorry sock
that deigns to contain it.
Huge and purple it emerges,
in every sense an enormity.
The only medicine for it
is bloodletting, bard-style:
pen, paper, patient play.

© Laurel W. Garver, 2013

The collection will be available in mid-March. I'll be doing a cover reveal next week! Stay tuned.

National Poetry Month is coming up in April, and I'd love to visit some blogs to talk poetry. Let me know in the comments if you're willing to host a guest post, interview and/or giveaway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More or less faith on the page?

by Tyrean Martinson, author of Champion in the Darkness

As writers, our beliefs are an integral part of what we write. We can’t really help it, even when we try to downplay it. We’ve all seen that when we read books, right? A writer creates a world of imagination and their values and worldview shines through all of it. (To read more about my thoughts on Faith in Fiction: The Integral Part, visit my post at Ian’s Realm.)

A famous example of a worldview shining through a fiction world is The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Tolkien wanted to be a “sub-creator” with his writing, with his faith under the surface of the story. It is true that many Tolkien fans claim that his writing isn’t about Christian faith at all, but I see it there under the surface of the story because the sacrificial love of the main character, Frodo, is the key to saving Middle Earth. When I read Lord of the Rings, I feel as if the whole story is an embodiment of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

So, the decision we have to make is this: do we write like Tolkien as sub-creators of our stories, with our faith under the surface of events and characters’ decisions, or do we write with our faith out loud in the minds and words of our characters on the page?

There is a small middle ground, like in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, in which Aslan represents Jesus, but is never specifically called Jesus anywhere in the series. The Christian symbolism throughout the series is hard to miss, with the creation story in The Magician’s Nephew, the sacrifice of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the baptismal cleansing of Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as well as many other instance of Christian symbolism. Despite all that, secular readers enjoy the Narnia series without necessarily ever finding out what Aslan’s “other” name is in the Pevensies’ world.

The last option, which I think is the hardest one to write, is to choose an all-out, open faith-based approach to writing fiction.

After years of writing fiction and poetry that never proclaimed my faith, I decided I wanted to write a story in which the characters had to have faith to win the day. In the land of Septily, the swords of power are only powerful in the hands of a Sword Master with faith. If that Sword Master loses his or her faith, the sword will go dull, crack, or break. Clara, my MC, is on her way to become a Sword Master, but her journey of faith doesn’t end when she receives her sword.

The danger in writing an openly faith-based book is that I may alienate some readers. I don’t want to do that. However, I wanted to try something new, something in which faith mattered to the characters and their story.

Tyrean Martinson lives and writes in the Northwest, encouraged by her loving husband and daughters, and reminded to exercise by her dogs and cat. Champion in the Darkness is the first book in the Champion Trilogy, and she has previously published short stories and poetry.

About the Book

Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master's blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness.

Champion in the Darkness is YA Christian Fantasy, and is the first book in the Champion Trilogy.

Buy links:
Add it on Goodreads

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 Laurel Garver

More or less faith on the page?

by Tyrean Martinson, author of Champion in the Darkness

As writers, our beliefs are an integral part of what we write. We can’t really help it, even when we try to downplay it. We’ve all seen that when we read books, right? A writer creates a world of imagination and their values and worldview shines through all of it. (To read more about my thoughts on Faith in Fiction: The Integral Part, visit my post at Ian’s Realm.)

A famous example of a worldview shining through a fiction world is The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Tolkien wanted to be a “sub-creator” with his writing, with his faith under the surface of the story. It is true that many Tolkien fans claim that his writing isn’t about Christian faith at all, but I see it there under the surface of the story because the sacrificial love of the main character, Frodo, is the key to saving Middle Earth. When I read Lord of the Rings, I feel as if the whole story is an embodiment of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

So, the decision we have to make is this: do we write like Tolkien as sub-creators of our stories, with our faith under the surface of events and characters’ decisions, or do we write with our faith out loud in the minds and words of our characters on the page?

There is a small middle ground, like in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, in which Aslan represents Jesus, but is never specifically called Jesus anywhere in the series. The Christian symbolism throughout the series is hard to miss, with the creation story in The Magician’s Nephew, the sacrifice of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the baptismal cleansing of Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as well as many other instance of Christian symbolism. Despite all that, secular readers enjoy the Narnia series without necessarily ever finding out what Aslan’s “other” name is in the Pevensies’ world.

The last option, which I think is the hardest one to write, is to choose an all-out, open faith-based approach to writing fiction.

After years of writing fiction and poetry that never proclaimed my faith, I decided I wanted to write a story in which the characters had to have faith to win the day. In the land of Septily, the swords of power are only powerful in the hands of a Sword Master with faith. If that Sword Master loses his or her faith, the sword will go dull, crack, or break. Clara, my MC, is on her way to become a Sword Master, but her journey of faith doesn’t end when she receives her sword.

The danger in writing an openly faith-based book is that I may alienate some readers. I don’t want to do that. However, I wanted to try something new, something in which faith mattered to the characters and their story.

Tyrean Martinson lives and writes in the Northwest, encouraged by her loving husband and daughters, and reminded to exercise by her dogs and cat. Champion in the Darkness is the first book in the Champion Trilogy, and she has previously published short stories and poetry.

About the Book

Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master's blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness.

Champion in the Darkness is YA Christian Fantasy, and is the first book in the Champion Trilogy.

Buy links:
Add it on Goodreads

Thursday, February 14, 2013



Just in time for today's "Indie Kissing" blogfest, Every Day Poets published my poem about my first kiss.

NORTH AND SOUTH

That splish-splash summer night you chose me
with a touch of your toe and slow smile....
CLICK TO READ MORE

If you're so inclined, please rate it and like it. The editors include the highest rated pieces in an annual anthology. 

I never did see that sweet guy again. His name was Russell Mc-Something-I-can't-remember. We exchanged a few letters, which was the death of that relationship. At 14, I was only going to invest in a long-distance relationship with a guy who was eloquent (he wasn't. Not even a little). :-D

Was your first kiss a wonderful memory or a not-so-great one?


Visit others in the blogfest here:


Thursday, February 14, 2013 Laurel Garver


Just in time for today's "Indie Kissing" blogfest, Every Day Poets published my poem about my first kiss.

NORTH AND SOUTH

That splish-splash summer night you chose me
with a touch of your toe and slow smile....
CLICK TO READ MORE

If you're so inclined, please rate it and like it. The editors include the highest rated pieces in an annual anthology. 

I never did see that sweet guy again. His name was Russell Mc-Something-I-can't-remember. We exchanged a few letters, which was the death of that relationship. At 14, I was only going to invest in a long-distance relationship with a guy who was eloquent (he wasn't. Not even a little). :-D

Was your first kiss a wonderful memory or a not-so-great one?


Visit others in the blogfest here:


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I've been interviewed by book blogger Brandi Kosiner at the popular review blog Blkosiner's Book Blog.  Learn a bit about me, inspirations for my debut novel, as well as what other projects are in the pipeline.

Brandi is also hosting an ebook giveaway of Never Gone. Swing on by to enter!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Laurel Garver
I've been interviewed by book blogger Brandi Kosiner at the popular review blog Blkosiner's Book Blog.  Learn a bit about me, inspirations for my debut novel, as well as what other projects are in the pipeline.

Brandi is also hosting an ebook giveaway of Never Gone. Swing on by to enter!

Monday, February 11, 2013

By Charity Bradford, author of The Magic Wakes

Working with my editor was perhaps the most exciting part of this publishing process. Amie provided a wonderful mix of honesty and ego stroking. My guess is every great editor possesses this talent.

Before I started working with an editor I had plenty of time to get anxious about it. I kept hearing about these gut wrenching, full of red marks, your writing sucks and you’ll have to start all over kind of letters from editors. Well, no one actually said that last part, but I’d read about a lot of tears over those first letters from editors. Therefore, I waited with a lot of trepidation for that first letter.

I envisioned getting a printed out copy of my book full of slashes, hand written notes, etc. I was prepared to cry a bit before getting to work. Thank goodness that isn’t what I got. Instead I got a nice three page letter of thoughts. This included what my editor really liked, possible problem areas and definite plot holes. The best part was she even made a few suggestions as to how we could fix those problems.

After that first letter I realized a very important thing about working with an editor. This was a conversation. She wasn’t out to crush me, but help me make my story the best that it could be. I didn’t like a certain suggestion Amie made, but that suggestion sparked an idea that fit my character and still fixed the problem. When I shared it with her she was excited about it and supported me 100%.

Together we worked through three rounds of revisions and edits. The first round was what they call a macro edit and covered the big-picture notes Amie sent me on plot, characterization, scene impact, POVs, and some other elements. I took that 3 page editor’s letter and got to work.

A lot of times we just call this revisions. I cut a few scenes that were not doing anything, wrote some new ones to fill in the gaps, dug a bit deeper into a character or two, and basically “finished” the story.

The next round was line edits. This is where my editor used “track changes” to cut words, suggest words, make comments, and made sure my manuscript fit the publisher’s formatting guidelines. This was perhaps my favorite part. Why? Because I love getting a peek inside my reader’s head. If Amie had a question I saw it. If she really loved something, I saw it. This is how I critique other’s work too.

I worked, tweaked, polished. Amie checked my changes and came back with a few other spots that needed a bit more work until we reached the point that we both felt we were “finished”.

The last stage is copy edits. My publisher is hands on and took over here. This stage deals with the individual details—spelling, punctuation, typos, and word use. Karen noticed a lot of repetition and cleaned the manuscript a little more. This was all taken care of and then the book was designed and formatted before being sent back to me for a final check. I’m grateful to be with a group of professionals who know what they’re doing. When Karen sent the formatted pdf for me to review for I was so excited! It looked great!

All in all, the whole process was a great experience. I felt I learned a lot about writing clean. Things that I hope to incorporate into the next novel to make it even better. There is no reason to be afraid of working with an editor. Yes, they are going to point out the weak areas in your writing. It might even hurt. However, if you go into it with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and improve, you are going to become a better writer and put out a better quality novel.

 Who doesn’t want that?

Author photoCharity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. The Magic Wakes is her first novel.


The Magic Wakes

CoverTalia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight. Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

 Book links: Trailer / 1st Chapter / Goodreads / Amazon

Where to find Charity: Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website

What’s your biggest fear about working with an editor?
Monday, February 11, 2013 Laurel Garver
By Charity Bradford, author of The Magic Wakes

Working with my editor was perhaps the most exciting part of this publishing process. Amie provided a wonderful mix of honesty and ego stroking. My guess is every great editor possesses this talent.

Before I started working with an editor I had plenty of time to get anxious about it. I kept hearing about these gut wrenching, full of red marks, your writing sucks and you’ll have to start all over kind of letters from editors. Well, no one actually said that last part, but I’d read about a lot of tears over those first letters from editors. Therefore, I waited with a lot of trepidation for that first letter.

I envisioned getting a printed out copy of my book full of slashes, hand written notes, etc. I was prepared to cry a bit before getting to work. Thank goodness that isn’t what I got. Instead I got a nice three page letter of thoughts. This included what my editor really liked, possible problem areas and definite plot holes. The best part was she even made a few suggestions as to how we could fix those problems.

After that first letter I realized a very important thing about working with an editor. This was a conversation. She wasn’t out to crush me, but help me make my story the best that it could be. I didn’t like a certain suggestion Amie made, but that suggestion sparked an idea that fit my character and still fixed the problem. When I shared it with her she was excited about it and supported me 100%.

Together we worked through three rounds of revisions and edits. The first round was what they call a macro edit and covered the big-picture notes Amie sent me on plot, characterization, scene impact, POVs, and some other elements. I took that 3 page editor’s letter and got to work.

A lot of times we just call this revisions. I cut a few scenes that were not doing anything, wrote some new ones to fill in the gaps, dug a bit deeper into a character or two, and basically “finished” the story.

The next round was line edits. This is where my editor used “track changes” to cut words, suggest words, make comments, and made sure my manuscript fit the publisher’s formatting guidelines. This was perhaps my favorite part. Why? Because I love getting a peek inside my reader’s head. If Amie had a question I saw it. If she really loved something, I saw it. This is how I critique other’s work too.

I worked, tweaked, polished. Amie checked my changes and came back with a few other spots that needed a bit more work until we reached the point that we both felt we were “finished”.

The last stage is copy edits. My publisher is hands on and took over here. This stage deals with the individual details—spelling, punctuation, typos, and word use. Karen noticed a lot of repetition and cleaned the manuscript a little more. This was all taken care of and then the book was designed and formatted before being sent back to me for a final check. I’m grateful to be with a group of professionals who know what they’re doing. When Karen sent the formatted pdf for me to review for I was so excited! It looked great!

All in all, the whole process was a great experience. I felt I learned a lot about writing clean. Things that I hope to incorporate into the next novel to make it even better. There is no reason to be afraid of working with an editor. Yes, they are going to point out the weak areas in your writing. It might even hurt. However, if you go into it with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and improve, you are going to become a better writer and put out a better quality novel.

 Who doesn’t want that?

Author photoCharity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. The Magic Wakes is her first novel.


The Magic Wakes

CoverTalia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight. Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

 Book links: Trailer / 1st Chapter / Goodreads / Amazon

Where to find Charity: Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website

What’s your biggest fear about working with an editor?

Friday, February 08, 2013

It's Phonics Friday once again, and today I'm addressing two pairs of words a reader asked me to discuss. These pairs perplexed me a bit, because they aren't actually homophones. But because they are "kissing cousins" so to speak, pronunciation-wise, you might have gotten mixed up somewhere along the line about which word is which.

Then 

Pronounced then (voiced th, short e like in elephant); rhymes with pen, when, den, wren.

adv. - at that time; soon after, following; in addition, besides. In that case; according to that, as may be inferred; as it appears; as a consequence.

Examples
Just then, an ambulance hurtled past.

First Bill arrived, then Frank did.

You're not going to pay me, are you, then?

Mnemonic
THEN is WHEN it HAPPENS.

For more guidance on using THEN in "and then" constructions, see my post "And then...derailment at Conjunction Junction."

Than

Pronounced than (voiced th, short a like in apple); rhymes with man, pan, ran.

conj. - connector used to compare an inequality between subjects; function word used to express difference in kind, manner or identity. Often used in a pair with rather (rather...than) to indicate preference.

Examples
This project is more trouble than it is worth.

Liesl is older than Louisa.

I would rather go swimming than sit on the hot beach

Mnemonics
STAN is more of a MAN THAN you are.

Use THAN to COMPARE APPLES to APPLES.

For more guidance on constructing comparisons using THAN, see my post "Compare with Flair."

Lose

Pronounced lUz (long U sound like used, voiced s / zuh like in laser); rhymes with use, ruse, booze, snooze,  choose.

This one is tricky, because its spelling is a bit counter-intuitive. 

v., trans. - to misplace; to suffer deprivation or loss; fail to keep control or allegiance of; bring to destruction or ruin; to wander or go astray; fail to keep in sight or mind; to free oneself of

lost,  losing

Examples
Do not lose this key, or we can't get back inside.

James tends to lose his temper easily.

Did he lose his ship on that terrible reef?

Helen seems lost in daydreams.

Max, Leo and Parker all hope to lose weight.

Mnemonic
The O sounds like OO, the S sounds like Z;
Make it four-letter LOSE, or LOSE the spelling bee!

Loose

Pronounced lUss (long U like used, unvoiced s, like soup); rhymes with juice, truce, moose, goose

adj. - not rigidly tight or securely fastened; not tight-fitting; detached or disconnected; slack; flexible or relaxed.

v., trans. - to release, untie, detach or discharge.

loosed, loosing

Examples
Tendrils of hair slipped from Harriet's loose ponytail.

Megan knew her diet was working when her old jeans fit loosely.

Desmond used a loose, flowing brushstroke in these paintings.

Don't let the goat loose, it will eat Mama's petunias!

Jake is constantly loosing his biting tongue on his enemies.

Mnemonics
Don't let the GOOSE LOOSE with the MOOSE; they would SOONER fight than call a truce.

OO-whee, LOOSE and free!

Do these near-miss words trip you up? Any other almost-homophones you'd like me to address in a future post?
Friday, February 08, 2013 Laurel Garver
It's Phonics Friday once again, and today I'm addressing two pairs of words a reader asked me to discuss. These pairs perplexed me a bit, because they aren't actually homophones. But because they are "kissing cousins" so to speak, pronunciation-wise, you might have gotten mixed up somewhere along the line about which word is which.

Then 

Pronounced then (voiced th, short e like in elephant); rhymes with pen, when, den, wren.

adv. - at that time; soon after, following; in addition, besides. In that case; according to that, as may be inferred; as it appears; as a consequence.

Examples
Just then, an ambulance hurtled past.

First Bill arrived, then Frank did.

You're not going to pay me, are you, then?

Mnemonic
THEN is WHEN it HAPPENS.

For more guidance on using THEN in "and then" constructions, see my post "And then...derailment at Conjunction Junction."

Than

Pronounced than (voiced th, short a like in apple); rhymes with man, pan, ran.

conj. - connector used to compare an inequality between subjects; function word used to express difference in kind, manner or identity. Often used in a pair with rather (rather...than) to indicate preference.

Examples
This project is more trouble than it is worth.

Liesl is older than Louisa.

I would rather go swimming than sit on the hot beach

Mnemonics
STAN is more of a MAN THAN you are.

Use THAN to COMPARE APPLES to APPLES.

For more guidance on constructing comparisons using THAN, see my post "Compare with Flair."

Lose

Pronounced lUz (long U sound like used, voiced s / zuh like in laser); rhymes with use, ruse, booze, snooze,  choose.

This one is tricky, because its spelling is a bit counter-intuitive. 

v., trans. - to misplace; to suffer deprivation or loss; fail to keep control or allegiance of; bring to destruction or ruin; to wander or go astray; fail to keep in sight or mind; to free oneself of

lost,  losing

Examples
Do not lose this key, or we can't get back inside.

James tends to lose his temper easily.

Did he lose his ship on that terrible reef?

Helen seems lost in daydreams.

Max, Leo and Parker all hope to lose weight.

Mnemonic
The O sounds like OO, the S sounds like Z;
Make it four-letter LOSE, or LOSE the spelling bee!

Loose

Pronounced lUss (long U like used, unvoiced s, like soup); rhymes with juice, truce, moose, goose

adj. - not rigidly tight or securely fastened; not tight-fitting; detached or disconnected; slack; flexible or relaxed.

v., trans. - to release, untie, detach or discharge.

loosed, loosing

Examples
Tendrils of hair slipped from Harriet's loose ponytail.

Megan knew her diet was working when her old jeans fit loosely.

Desmond used a loose, flowing brushstroke in these paintings.

Don't let the goat loose, it will eat Mama's petunias!

Jake is constantly loosing his biting tongue on his enemies.

Mnemonics
Don't let the GOOSE LOOSE with the MOOSE; they would SOONER fight than call a truce.

OO-whee, LOOSE and free!

Do these near-miss words trip you up? Any other almost-homophones you'd like me to address in a future post?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

I'm delighted to have special guest Jessica Bell here to talk about how she develops and uses colors symbolically in her work. I love this of this sort of leitmotif in fiction, especially after doing a grad school paper on color motifs in Willa Cather's fiction.

USING COLOUR TO ACCENTUATE THEME
by Jessica Bell

I like to use the symbolism of colour to strengthen a common theme(s) I want to explore in my writing. I am fascinated by symbolic references in the books I read too (even if they do not have anything to do with colour), and believe they bring a richness and depth to what we read, even if it is not immediately evident to us. So let me tell you a little bit about how I utilize the combination of colour and theme in my work.

For THE BOOK it was GREEN.
Green symbolizes self-respect, well-being,  learning and harmony. It suggests safety and endurance, lack of experience, growth and hope. THE BOOK is about a little girl named Bonnie who is thought to have learning difficulties, but really is quite the genius. Her insights into the adult world are astounding, as she tries to "make logic" of the behaviour of her mother, father and step father regarding a journal ("the book") that is turning their family upside down. Her constant attraction to the colour green was a way for me to explore her subconscious need for security, stability and her desire to learn.

Some examples of the way it is used:
You saw Father Christmas at the mall and sat on his lap. He asked you what you wanted for Christmas and you said you wanted green lebküchen! (lebküchen are a German buscuit)

Dr Wright: Mummy tells me you that you miss Daddy. Do you want to talk about it?
Bonnie: [scribbles on paper with green crayon]
...
Dr Wright: How come you don’t like any of the other colours, Bonnie?
Bonnie: Daddy said green is a colour of being safe.

Dr Wright: Do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?
Bonnie: No, I want to give medicine from a shop with a green cross.

Bonnie: [shifts in seat, pushes hair from forehead] Well, my Ted isn’t very smart because I tolded him to fix it so all the greens could be on the same side and he sat with me on the flying carpet, and I made us go up in the air, so there could be magic around us, so he could fix it for all the greens to be on the same side.

And you are a gift no man could ever buy. Two beautiful ladies, and two shining souls, through one set of radiant green eyes.

“Now, if you have a little patience, my dear, I can show you how to make some green. Do you have a little patience?” I nod. But I can’t tell if this is a Daddy type question or a my Ted type question. But it doesn’t matter. If Mrs Haydon can make me some green, then I can paint some trees.

For STRING BRIDGE it was BLUE.
Blue is associated with freedom, strength and new beginnings, optimism and better opportunities,  loyalty and faith, power and protection. No colour is better fitting for this story about a woman named Melody who has let her passion for music die for the sake of her family, but tries to bring it back into her life without it affecting those she loves. In String Bridge, blue things are always deteriorating, symbolizing the fact that Melody feels helpless, and that it's going to be struggle to "start again".

Some examples of the way it was used:
I stare at my bag’s wrinkly, flaking, blue-vinyl exterior. It looks how I feel. Old. Poorly constructed. Depressed. Cheap.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I say, scrubbing the stain from the only decent dress I own. Blue dye comes off on the sponge.

Her fingers rose through her inward sigh, hovered above the keys, searched them for the correct notes like Braille. She began to play Joni Mitchell’s  “Blue.”

I steal one of Alex’s Camels and grab a box of matches. Sit on the floor in the living room, up against the wall. I strike a match, let it burn half way down, watching the blue base of the flame crawl along the stick as if lured by oil—kerosene candy.

I have another novel that is not yet published, called BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, where I use the colour and flavour of orange to symbolize the bitterness, distrust and sexual desire my protagonists feel. Again, orange crops up in all sorts of shapes and forms such as rotting oranges falling from a tree, orange-flavoured lip gloss, an orange vinyl couch, an orange mohair sweater, photos tinged orange over time, and an orange scrub cap ...

And my lastest work-in-progress, WHITE LADY, (which stands for the drug speed) I have already shown signs of utilizing the colour white to represent tainted purity and cold, sterile environments.

As you can see, there is quite a lot you can play around with in the colour department. If you check out this link, perhaps the meanings of different colours might inspire you too.

Do you like to use symbolism in your writing? Give me an example. Do you notice symbolism used in the books you read?

Want to connect with Jessica Bell? Learn more at the following links:


Tuesday, February 05, 2013 Laurel Garver
I'm delighted to have special guest Jessica Bell here to talk about how she develops and uses colors symbolically in her work. I love this of this sort of leitmotif in fiction, especially after doing a grad school paper on color motifs in Willa Cather's fiction.

USING COLOUR TO ACCENTUATE THEME
by Jessica Bell

I like to use the symbolism of colour to strengthen a common theme(s) I want to explore in my writing. I am fascinated by symbolic references in the books I read too (even if they do not have anything to do with colour), and believe they bring a richness and depth to what we read, even if it is not immediately evident to us. So let me tell you a little bit about how I utilize the combination of colour and theme in my work.

For THE BOOK it was GREEN.
Green symbolizes self-respect, well-being,  learning and harmony. It suggests safety and endurance, lack of experience, growth and hope. THE BOOK is about a little girl named Bonnie who is thought to have learning difficulties, but really is quite the genius. Her insights into the adult world are astounding, as she tries to "make logic" of the behaviour of her mother, father and step father regarding a journal ("the book") that is turning their family upside down. Her constant attraction to the colour green was a way for me to explore her subconscious need for security, stability and her desire to learn.

Some examples of the way it is used:
You saw Father Christmas at the mall and sat on his lap. He asked you what you wanted for Christmas and you said you wanted green lebküchen! (lebküchen are a German buscuit)

Dr Wright: Mummy tells me you that you miss Daddy. Do you want to talk about it?
Bonnie: [scribbles on paper with green crayon]
...
Dr Wright: How come you don’t like any of the other colours, Bonnie?
Bonnie: Daddy said green is a colour of being safe.

Dr Wright: Do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?
Bonnie: No, I want to give medicine from a shop with a green cross.

Bonnie: [shifts in seat, pushes hair from forehead] Well, my Ted isn’t very smart because I tolded him to fix it so all the greens could be on the same side and he sat with me on the flying carpet, and I made us go up in the air, so there could be magic around us, so he could fix it for all the greens to be on the same side.

And you are a gift no man could ever buy. Two beautiful ladies, and two shining souls, through one set of radiant green eyes.

“Now, if you have a little patience, my dear, I can show you how to make some green. Do you have a little patience?” I nod. But I can’t tell if this is a Daddy type question or a my Ted type question. But it doesn’t matter. If Mrs Haydon can make me some green, then I can paint some trees.

For STRING BRIDGE it was BLUE.
Blue is associated with freedom, strength and new beginnings, optimism and better opportunities,  loyalty and faith, power and protection. No colour is better fitting for this story about a woman named Melody who has let her passion for music die for the sake of her family, but tries to bring it back into her life without it affecting those she loves. In String Bridge, blue things are always deteriorating, symbolizing the fact that Melody feels helpless, and that it's going to be struggle to "start again".

Some examples of the way it was used:
I stare at my bag’s wrinkly, flaking, blue-vinyl exterior. It looks how I feel. Old. Poorly constructed. Depressed. Cheap.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I say, scrubbing the stain from the only decent dress I own. Blue dye comes off on the sponge.

Her fingers rose through her inward sigh, hovered above the keys, searched them for the correct notes like Braille. She began to play Joni Mitchell’s  “Blue.”

I steal one of Alex’s Camels and grab a box of matches. Sit on the floor in the living room, up against the wall. I strike a match, let it burn half way down, watching the blue base of the flame crawl along the stick as if lured by oil—kerosene candy.

I have another novel that is not yet published, called BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, where I use the colour and flavour of orange to symbolize the bitterness, distrust and sexual desire my protagonists feel. Again, orange crops up in all sorts of shapes and forms such as rotting oranges falling from a tree, orange-flavoured lip gloss, an orange vinyl couch, an orange mohair sweater, photos tinged orange over time, and an orange scrub cap ...

And my lastest work-in-progress, WHITE LADY, (which stands for the drug speed) I have already shown signs of utilizing the colour white to represent tainted purity and cold, sterile environments.

As you can see, there is quite a lot you can play around with in the colour department. If you check out this link, perhaps the meanings of different colours might inspire you too.

Do you like to use symbolism in your writing? Give me an example. Do you notice symbolism used in the books you read?

Want to connect with Jessica Bell? Learn more at the following links:


Friday, February 01, 2013

It's Phonics Friday once again, and I'm here to tackle a pair of homophones I've frequently seen mixed up, even in published books and newspapers--and on a billboard once, as well. Let's take a look at definitions, visuals, examples, and mnemonics to get the words clear in our heads. Because spell-check will not help you.

Principal

adj. -- most important, influential or consequential.

Photo credit: Jusben from morguefile.com 
n. -- person in the lead position of authority; chief; lead performer or star; person ultimately legally liable; one who engages another to act on their behalf, specifically, the person from whom an agent's authority derives.

Examples
My principal concern is my baby's safety.

The principal flautist took the stage.

Merrick Jones is the new principal of Jones and McDuff, CPAs.

Stephanie got sent to the principal's office because she sassed her teacher.

Mnemonics
The principal is always alpha; all-important and influential.
"The principal is not your pal,"  Mr. Palgrave told naughty students.

Principle

photo by doctor_bob, morguefile.com
n. -- a fundamental law or doctrine; a core assumption; primary source or origin; an underlying capability or function.

NOTE -- principle is ONLY a noun. Its adjectival form is "principled."

Examples
He followed the principle of "pay yourself first" and put money in savings each payday.

I don't like mud masques or mud baths. It's the principle of it. How can dirt be cleansing?

Joe is very principaled about who he dates--only vegan nonsmokers.

Mnemonic
The principle of a level playing field lets learners lead.


Which of these tend to trip you up? Any other sets I should cover in future posts?
Friday, February 01, 2013 Laurel Garver
It's Phonics Friday once again, and I'm here to tackle a pair of homophones I've frequently seen mixed up, even in published books and newspapers--and on a billboard once, as well. Let's take a look at definitions, visuals, examples, and mnemonics to get the words clear in our heads. Because spell-check will not help you.

Principal

adj. -- most important, influential or consequential.

Photo credit: Jusben from morguefile.com 
n. -- person in the lead position of authority; chief; lead performer or star; person ultimately legally liable; one who engages another to act on their behalf, specifically, the person from whom an agent's authority derives.

Examples
My principal concern is my baby's safety.

The principal flautist took the stage.

Merrick Jones is the new principal of Jones and McDuff, CPAs.

Stephanie got sent to the principal's office because she sassed her teacher.

Mnemonics
The principal is always alpha; all-important and influential.
"The principal is not your pal,"  Mr. Palgrave told naughty students.

Principle

photo by doctor_bob, morguefile.com
n. -- a fundamental law or doctrine; a core assumption; primary source or origin; an underlying capability or function.

NOTE -- principle is ONLY a noun. Its adjectival form is "principled."

Examples
He followed the principle of "pay yourself first" and put money in savings each payday.

I don't like mud masques or mud baths. It's the principle of it. How can dirt be cleansing?

Joe is very principaled about who he dates--only vegan nonsmokers.

Mnemonic
The principle of a level playing field lets learners lead.


Which of these tend to trip you up? Any other sets I should cover in future posts?