Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Whiling Away at Awhile

Oh the joys of writing and English grammar! It's a rat-hole, folks.

Here's one piece of advice I received from an editor: be consistent with my use of "awhile" or "a while." So I picked one, did a search and changed them all to the one word "awhile." Nice and easy, right?

Not until another editor looked at it and pointed me in the opposite direction: "awhile" should be "a while."

Color me confused.

R-i-i-i-ght.

The online dictionary says "awhile" means: for a short time or period as in stay for awhile. When I typed in "a while" there was no definition...BUT, I did find a link directing me to grammarist.com and a very interesting article, Awhile vs. a while.

Essentially, "awhile" is an adverb replacing the phrase "for a while." If you can't replace it, then it's probably a noun and should be written as "a while." The Grammarist says, "[If you] are unsure if you’re using it correctly, making it two words is always safe because no one will consider it wrong."


Forget Me Nots

Okay...so what about "alright" and "all right," another one these two editors differ on? Or how about "altogether" and "all together," or "already" and "all ready?" Too much for me...ugh! But check out Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips on the subject and don't forget to read people's comments...I always (or is it "all ways") glean a more rounded understanding or at least get a good laugh.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Renewing Creative Energy with Vitamin D

It's hard to write in the summer, and here's why: the sun is shining, yo! And if there's one thing I've learned while living in Seattle...get it while it's hot. Otherwise it's not hot because it's either raining, overcast, cold or foggy; perfect days for writing, then.

Fresh Kayaks

Captain Tilly Bean and Her Crew

 I may not be writing, but sometimes "one" needs to exercise out in nature to juice the brain. Give the poor thing some vitamin D, some oxygen, and some fresh ideas. Experience life and use the head for something more than a cool-hat rack. Speaking of...

Me in My New Montana Hat: "Just a Small Town Girl"
and Bee in Her Bonnet

Tango Pining for The Captain

Even my writing team, Tango and Tilly Bean, joined in the fun. In fact, I bought my kayak with them in mind, an 8-foot sit-in kayak with lots of space for the little ones. Both were with me for awhile until they started jumping overboard, making their rounds from boat to boat. Eventually they realized I'm the fun factor and dog paddled their way back to me. Ahh...loyal to the bone.

Snooze-fest

____________________________
"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air."
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Monday, August 15, 2016

What the Font, Man?

I'm currently working away at a second edition of my debut book, Dealing with Blue. It's my first self-published book, so let's just say...mistakes were made. But it's the way I learn...hands on. Now, I've got some fixing to do.

I'd played it safe, using the serif font Times New Roman in 12-point for the interior body text. When I published it, I thought the font was a bit on the large side. After doing some research and comparing it to other books, I discovered that using Times New Roman was frowned upon in general. Oh, boy. Here we go.

One sign of an amateur look is crappy interior design:
"Use a font besides Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Don’t go crazy with a fancy font, but show a little style." ~ Guy Kawasaki of Digital Book World

Here are a few of the resources I perused for "best font" with regards to self publishing:

Best Fonts to Use for the Interior of Your Book by Yellow Studios
Picking Fonts for Your Self-Published Book by The Book Designer
Good Typefaces for Your Self-Published Book by Holly Brady

1. Garamond
2. Hoefler Text
3. Palatino
4. Georgia
5. Caslon, Minion Pro, Janson Text, Sabon, Century

Now, I had to choose. Which font from the short list above was the best option for Dealing with Blue, a young adult romance? At first, the decision didn't seem obvious, but after I experimented with the formatting, the choices started to fall away. Here's the break down:

5. Caslon, and the rest mentioned after, weren't available on my Mac. Boom. Moving on...

4. Georgia seemed too dense.

3. Palatino was okay but was also on the large side.

A 12-pt Comparison


2. Hoefler Text was beautiful! I loved the look until I realized the hyphens and em-dashes were too high and interfered with letters like "r" and "f." I would have had to alter the baseline shift in each instance. Okay...maybe it was an option. But then add in the numbers...small and low. The chapter headings looked funny. I opted to pass for the sake of my sanity and ease with formatting.

1. Garamond turned out to be the winner. All around no fuss-no muss. Easy formatting, looks professional, easy on the eyes, and on the top of everyone's list as a text favorite. Works for me.


"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail," some brilliant person said.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Currently: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

READING

I'm currently reading:

1.) Young Adult Romance


2.) Young Adult Fantasy


3.) Middle Grade


4.) Contemporary Romance



WRITING

I'm currently working on a second edition of Dealing with Blue with the new cover and a more streamlined beginning. Coming soon! And...

While my three beta readers are reviewing Book #2, I'm tinkering with it's cover and back blurb. It's coming soon, too...

Ugh! I just want things to happen already.

Chompy McBit, here.


ARITHMETIC

If you give the library five books, and then take five books away...but then you donate some extras, and so do others, how many are left at the library? Plenty.


Fresh Reading

I currently have another book pile after learning of the Bellevue Library's summer book exchange. It's offered on Thursday afternoons, but sadly, due to expire next week (last day: August 18). Bring in one to five books and pick out one to five new ones. I went last week and again today and scored big! I can't wait to dig in...

Winger by Andrew Smith 
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney  
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins  
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows 
Boy 21 by Matthew Quick 
The Husband List by Janet Ivanovich and Dorien Kelly
_________________________________

"If a book is well written, I always find it too short." ~ Jane Austen
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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Not Only "That" and "Just", but "Then," Too!

Contemplating My Overuse of "Then"
Cannon Beach, OR with Tilly and Tango


Excerpts from my second book (title and cover reveal coming soon):


He looked down at the toes of his boots and chuffed out a breath like it would be absurd to give her his real name. Then, he lifted his gaze and smiled. “You can call me Honey Bunny.” 
Then, Greer sighed heavily followed by an unpleasant creak as the passenger door opened. “I don’t wanna talk about it,” he said. “I hate beating on kids.” 
 Copy editor note: Too many “thens.” 

Not only do I abuse "that" and "just" but now I have to watch out for "then," too. I searched my 225-page document with 63,562 words and found 200 uses, which I easily downsized to 150. I learn something new about my writing every time I have my work reviewed. Good stuff.

I'm not one to condone complete elimination of words, but I definitely think some need to be used in moderation, adverbs included. Below are some helpful resources, the top one is particularly good:

Write Clearly by Eliminating Unnecessary Words and Rearranging Your Phrases by Purdue Owl
Eight Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing by LitReactor 
Words to Avoid by Tameri Guide for Writers
Forty-three Words You Should Cut from Your Writing Immediately by Diana Urban



"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words."~Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Update Starting with Punk Dog

Tango's New Haircut
"Let's walk the Mohawk."

I took my crazy-haired terrier-chihuahua mutt to the groomers for a cool 'do, and I think he rocks it well. 

I was at Petco, so while I waited for Tango "The Rug" to get buzzed, I perused the lizards. The Chameleon's were my favorite...so funny! One rushed to the glass and seemed very sociable. I don't know much about lizards, but I do love the look of their skin.

Chameleon #1

Chameleon #2

Chameleon #2
Close-up

I would feel remiss if I didn't post my latest flower picture from my garden...

Hydrangea Blossom

 ...and to give a short update on what's happening in the writer's den:

* Book #2, Will's story (cover and title coming out soon): the copy editor is exactly half way done. Once the manuscript is complete--probably in August--I am planning to upload it to Kindle Scout to see what happens. Why not? It might be worth exploring.

* The first book I ever wrote and completed was a late chapter book/early middle grade read. I'm making some edit touch ups then will figure out some illustrations before self-publishing. I wrote it for my kids, and they're at the perfect age now to enjoy it.

* I'm also working on a third young adult romance but haven't made much progress. My gray matter is churning away at chapter four.

* The PNWA 2016 conference is coming up next week! It's big, and I heard it's intense, too. I'm a little nervous...four days of mingling...ugh! But I have my business cards printed, and I'm ready as I'll ever be!




Friday, July 15, 2016

Currently...
Ignoring, Finishing, Judging, Playing, and Snuggling

1.) I'm currently ignoring my garden as shown by the aphids on this overgrown broccoli, which went to bloom. Oh, ladybugs! Where art thou?

2.) I'm currently finishing How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn. I'm done reading it, but need to research my sticky notes before I return it to my writ-crit buddy at our meeting tomorrow. She's critiquing the third chapter of my third young adult romance. Can't wait to see what she has for me.

3.) I'm currently judging a book by its cover. I bought Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith today at the University Bookstore in Bellevue. I don't know what it's about, but the cover sure looks cool. Love the artwork.

4.) Today, I played tennis with the family and saw snowberry shrubs with teeny-weeny pink blossoms. It reminded me of being a kid in the Flathead Valley where these grew everywhere.

5.) Tonight, while snuggling with my little Tilly Bean, I couldn't help but admire her underbite. I think she must be camera-shy, because when I pointed my phone at her for a snapshot, she got all freaky-eyed. She's a cutie-pie...honest!

___________________________

"Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams."

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