Archive | October 2013

“At Last” – available December 1

I had a contest to promote my upcoming book, At Last, looking for my Facebook author page. If I got to 100 likes, I would release an excerpt. Well, wouldn’t you know, the little rascals pulled it off. 106 likes.


Facebook author page. Go like it. Go. Go.

“Well, this afternoon promises to be a good time,” Liz commented as she rinsed her hair.

“Why’s that, Babe?” Ty asked over the hiss of the shower.

“OB-GYN visit and mammogram, so much fun. ‘Mrs. Hadley, good to see you. We’ve devised some new tortures to visit upon your body in the name of practicing medicine, beginning with a nicely chilled speculum and ending with the pressurized fun of a mammogram. Welcome to your mid 40s, Elizabeth,’” Liz answered. “‘By the way, did we remember to recommend that you have a colonoscopy, too? Just a thought.’”

She heard Ty chuckling.

“You make sure that prostate stays in good working order, Ty. I’m not done with it yet.”

“You got it,” he said laughing.

Liz raised her left arm over her head and began making firm circles on the skin of her left breast with her right hand, feeling for irregularities underneath. “Okay, so far, so good.”

“What’s that?” Ty asked.

“Breast self-exam,” Liz answered. “Every month, like clockwork, haven’t missed in 9 years.” She put her right arm over her head and repeated the procedure on the right breast.

“Want me to do it for you?” Ty asked. “Be no trouble at all.”

Liz laughed, “Thanks for the offer, but it’s not really all…that…ero…tic…” The circling stopped and she returned to the spot and felt again.No, she hadn’t imagined it. “No. Oh, God.”

The shower curtain snapped aside.

“What just happened?” Ty’s eyes were fixed on her hand. He reached out to touch, imitating Liz’s hand and circling, pressing her wet flesh. “You found something?” Liz heard the fear in his voice.

“I’m not sure,” she admitted, “Could be my imagination. Could be a cyst.”

“Could be cancer,” Ty finished hoarsely. He yanked a towel off the rack and wrapped Liz in it, sarong-style, then pulled her close. They stood there for a minute, Liz holding as tightly to Ty as he held her. He was only wearing a towel around his waist and Liz needed the intimate contact of skin to skin.

“God damn it,” she heard Ty growl, “God damn it.” She could feel the anger in him beginning to build.

Liz put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed. She slid her hand up to Ty’s face and looked into his eyes.

Quietly, she said, “Look. This may be nothing, okay? Let’s stay calm until we know for sure.” She brought Ty’s face down for a kiss that took on more urgency the longer it lasted.

Ty broke off first. “I love you, Liz. I don’t want to think about losing you.” He kissed her forehead and left his lips pressed to it. “Ever.”

He kissed her again. “That’s it. I’m coming to the doctor with you.”

Liz buried her face in his shoulder, smiling. “No, Counselor. I can handle this. Besides, if there is a lump, the doctor will refer me to someone else for a biopsy and that will take a few days to schedule, so you’d be terrorizing the doctor today for no good reason. Take it out on opposing counsel instead, okay?” She kissed Ty again, deeply. “I love you.”

“I love you, Liz,” Ty said. “Sure you’re okay with doing this by yourself?”

“Done it before, remember? I know the drill.” Liz felt him relax slightly.

Luckily, Liz thought, she’d done pretty good job of hiding her own terror.


Spell Check Is Not Your Friend

First things first: Reiterating last week’s blog post, I am offering FREE, SIGNED copies of These Foolish Things to breast cancer survivors. I have walked in Boston’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event several times. I lost my best friend to complications of this foul thief. It is my great pleasure to strike back. If you know someone, share this post.

I am a writer (although with something in print, I can now say “I am an author.” Writer’s Digest had some article about the difference between being a “writer” and an “author” and made the distinction that of being published). I am trained as an English (Language Arts) teacher. I have  a mastery of my native language, both spoken and written (typing is another story).  I read a lot of books, articles, and Facebook posts. The errors in spelling and usage by people who SHOULD know better make me wonder if humans are heading back to grunts and gestures as the sole means of communication. Why should they know better? Because this is FOURTH GRADE Language Arts, people.


And, some of all y’all are PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHED AUTHORS.


WHAT I SEE is that people sitting down to a word processing program to write rely on the Spell Check feature to catch any and all errors; therefore, they don’t need to know the words. Spell Check is my Homeboy. Same kind of thinking with not learning basic math  functions like addition, subtraction, long division, and multiplication because calculators are so cheap and plentiful. (I still break out in fraction-induced cold sweats)

Bad thinking, Folks, bad thinking.

Yes, Spell Check knows how to spell a boat load of words. HOWEVER, Spell Check does not know context.  Spell Check knows how to spell all the different homonyms (words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings), but it isn’t smart enough to detect when you’re using the wrong one.  We are all in trouble when it does because that means that Skynet has become aware and we will have Arnold Schwarzenegger suddenly show up looking for Sarah Connor. Buck naked isn’t his best look right now.



Of course, the reliance and prevalence of Spell Check doesn’t explain so many people who cannot or do not spell “definitely” or “separate” correctly. IT’S EVEN IN YOUR FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATES FER CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!!! One of my sisters, for instance, throws that “a” into “definite” or “definitely” and when it was pointed out to her, couldn’t give a shit and in fact bitched about getting corrected.


Anyway, you as the human in front of the word processing program have the responsibility of knowing what is right.  In fact, you should have learned this in middle school, if not earlier.

schoolhouse rock

Schoolhouse Rock

I’m not kidding: for basics in Math, Language Arts, Civics, and Science, this is a worthwhile investment. Spongebob and My Little Pony may be entertaining, but this is entertaining and contains essential knowledge.

I’m going to focus on three homonym groups that are the most abused.

their they're there

This group is Numero Uno, especially the use of the possessive pronoun “their” when the writer intends “they’re” (contraction of “they are”). I cringe. I really do. I reiterate: if you have spelled “their” correctly, Spell Check is not going to pick up the error because Spell Check is not programmed for CONTEXT. I’m sorry, but you have to step up on these and just learn the correct words/usage. There’s no way around it. See the grumpy man up there (correct usage)? Learn from him.

your you're

It seems like the one rule from basic Language Arts that everyone remembers is that you use an apostrophe to show possession. That’s fine, but it leads to confusion when you are dealing with pronouns. Apostrophes are an element in contractions (I’m, they’re, aren’t, isn’t, wouldn’t, ain’t).  Possessive pronouns don’t have apostrophes. My, your, their, our.

Your. The possessive pronoun. Your book, your blog, your egregious writing errors.

Contractions are a shortening of two words (or labor pains that make the mother-to-be wish the time was shorter). “They are” turns into “they’re” (replacing the a with the apostrophe). “I am” becomes “I’m.” These are not possessive pronouns. They are contracted verbs. They denote action (or a state of being). So, the sentence “Your going to have fun” (and I’d like to note that Spell Check didn’t underline the “your”) SHOULD be “You’re (You are) going to have fun.”

You’re going to have to learn the difference to improve your writing.

to too two

For once, it’s not pronouns and contractions getting the abuse

To – preposition. What’s a preposition:

  1. a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in “the man on the platform,” “she arrived after dinner,” “what did you do it for ?”
    Too – means either “also” or “excessive.” “She’s (contraction, not a possessive pronoun) covering this, too? That’s too much!”

Finally, “two”

It’s a number, pure and simple. After one and before three.

And watch yourselves: there may be a quiz.

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – An offer to survivors

(Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m late to the game. Sue me. Wait! I already am Sue! Ha!)

If you are a breast cancer survivor or know a survivor or have lost someone to this disease (I have), I have an offer for you to mark 2013 Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In past years, I would complete the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer course in Boston (it was a trip around the Charles starting and finishing at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade. Also the site of some of my deeper sunburns). By walking and getting pledges, I have raised nearly $5,000 for the Boston chapter of the American Cancer Society and I aim to do so again.

Krewe of Kurly 2006

Yeah, I’m the big blob on the far left.

In the meantime, if you are a survivor, know a survivor who might like the book or have lost someone to this disease, if you contact me, I will send you a signed copy (Sorry, I’m going to limit this offer to the US for now. I’m paying for the postage. UK? Canada? You’ll get your chance when I sell more books. Except for Tiff. She’ll get a signed copy).

Link to These Foolish Things on Amazon

This is a $12.75 value being offered for free (while supplies last). The book is well-received and there is a sequel to be released shortly and a prequel in the works. People are already casting an imaginary movie (Could happen).

So, to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will send a signed copy of my book “These Foolish Things” (not the Deborah Moggach book. You’ll have to talk to her) to breast cancer survivors and those who have lost loved ones to this disease.

And for those of you who have bought the book? Thank you for your support.