Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jump Breaks & Other Housekeeping Issues

Like many authors thrust into the world of social media by the marketing and networking demands of the craft, I'm still learning the technology side of maintaining a blog. I decided to mention a few tricks I've discovered and invite others to share their tips, too.

Making our blogs user friendly is important, and Google's Blogger gives us several tools to do that. Since I've addressed Captcha and other comment restrictions before, I'll just link that page and move on. (For those who don't know, the only comments I restrict on this blog are anonymous ones.)

Besides making it easy for visitors to comment, we also need to make it easy for them to interact with our posts. By that, I mean we should take care to make embedded links both visible and easy to use.

Let's start with visibility...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grammar Police Monday - All Cued Up

I hate change. I really do. 

While processing a crit from my new CP, I discovered one of the many grammar lessons drilled into my head for most of my young life is no longer a rule. I'm speaking of the comma-before-too rule.

I was always taught that anytime you're using too to mean also, you should put a comma before it (or commas around it if it comes in the middle of the sentence). According to the CMoS website Q&A, that's no longer true.

From their site:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nobody's Perfect


Grammar's a pretty picky subject, and I'm sure some of my Monday posts make me seem condescending. Believe it or not, I'm softer hearted than I seem. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt (sometimes to a fault) and I try very hard not to be harsh, especially when it comes to not-yet-published works.

A work in progress is exactly that, a work in progress, and none of us are perfect.

I've critiqued single subs for countless writers, and I've line-by-lined entire novels for a handful of folks. One thing I've learned from the longer-term relationships is that every writer has at least one grammar weak spot—myself included!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grammar Police Monday - Working Girls

I came across an error while reading a published novel the other day, and (after I quit chuckling) I decided it was time to do a grammar post on hyphens.

I had avoided this topic in the past because it is so complex. So, instead of trying to teach you every rule, I'm going to touch on a few, and then give you links to resources that will tackle the rest.

I'm sure you've heard the joke: Commas save lives (Let's eat, Grandma. vs Let's eat Grandma.). Silly as it is, it impresses upon us how much a simple mark of punctuation can drastically alter the meaning of a sentence. The same goes for hyphens.

The error that had me chuckling was this:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where Do You Draw The Line?

My recent post about author-editor Nicole Steinhaus drew a LOT of attention. Just 36 hours after launch, it became the most-visited post on my blog, of all time.

I want to thank those of you who offered your support. Save a few remarks from Nicole and her Twitter followers (who likely didn't have all the facts), not a single person chided me for my post. In fact, the supportive comments you see are but a fraction of the ones I got. Many members of the writing community were not in a position to comment publicly, and I understand.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Secret To Making It Big

Stop that senseless querying. Don't bother finding an agent. The secret to making it big in publishing is hiding right under your nose. 

Just get a job in the publishing industry, jump on the NA bandwagon, and self-publish under a pen name. Heck—promote your alter ego as if you’re two separate people and write a review for your own book if you feel so inclined. Before you know it, you'll be raking in thousands!

I'm sure you've all heard that the author behind the pen name Cora Carmack (Losing It) is really literary agent Brittany Howard. You can read her confession here.

Well, guess what? It's happened again.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Grammar Police Monday - Oh. No. They. Didn't! (Oh yes, they did.)

The following examples of bad writing came (believe it or not) from a publisher’s website. Their FAQ page was written in a conversational tone, but it had glaring errors that shouldn’t be there. Especially if the goal is to attract authors. And readers!

Two mistakes involved ending sentences with a preposition. And, before you ask, I’m not going to name the site. Bashing them is not my purpose. Teaching proper grammar is.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG - Best Laid Plans

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for June.  

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list. 


One thing about being a writer that makes me anxious is meeting deadlines. I'm a responsible person, and I'm usually very organized, but not everything is within my control. The fear of getting involved with a publisher and then being unable to turn out a finished product fast enough sends my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. It's one reason I lean toward self-publishing.

I recently went on hiatus to write, and I got quite a lot done. Then life happened. Suddenly my box of meticulously laid plans was ripped from my hands and dumped upside down. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grammar Police Monday - Carol Kilgore Visits

I'm guest posting for Carol Kilgore, Under The Tiki Hut today. And she's guest posting for me. It's a blog swap!

Here's Carol...

When Melissa and I decided to switch blogs for a day, she asked if I would do a top ten grammar list, since Mondays are her normal Grammar Police days. I said sure.

This was back in January. Remember that.