Archive | July 2014

And Now a Word From a Former English Teacher

(Okay, Language Arts for junior high school kids, but the age range is appropriate).


People of America:

I have detected a widespread error in English usage that should be addressed forthwith. Actually a lot of them (Look, spelling really DOES count. Don’t rely on Spellcheck or auto correct. THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND HOMONYMS). It is time to reclaim our intelligence and coherent communications. Break out the composition books, because class is in session .

(Great Britain? You’re lovely just as you are. You guys have your own spelling issues, such as an excessive fondness for “u” : flavour, etc. And there’s that whole “aluminium” thing. We Yanks may be brusque, but we don’t dally with excess letters)

Not only did I teach Language Arts, I’m an author (buy my books. See the link at the top of the page). While I enjoy the democratization of technology where anyone can now publish a book, the downside is there is an ever-increasing amount of material out there where the content may be great, but the execution is sub-standard. I belong to a lot of author groups on Facebook and some of the spelling/grammar errors I see in posts have been carried into the stories written by the authors.

First of all, if you are an author, Yea! (That is the correct spelling, not “yay.”) Word of advice: make sure your editor knows as much about spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence construction as you do, if not more. You are painting with words and while it may be acceptable for one of your characters to screw up language (in dialogue), it is not acceptable for the author to do so.  You don’t have to be an Oxford don, but you do need to know and understand the rules before you break them.

sarah palin

Easy starter here: Whatever THIS woman does, language-wise? Do the opposite and you’ll be correct.


This is my pet peeve du jour because I see “lay” misused EVERYWHERE.  “I’m going to go lay down.” WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

If you are moving yourself from a vertical (up and down) position to horizontal (side to side) position, e.g. taking a nap, you are LYING down. If you are placing an object (such as one of my books. Really, go buy them, they’re great) on a surface, you are LAYING down the object.


Thus, the act of lovemaking, when someone puts you on a bed (don’t nitpick here, I’m trying to make a point), YOU are the object and YOU are getting LAID.

See how that works?

Of course, the past tense of lie is lay, but just keep that handy-dandy chart around and refer to it often.

LIE = Recline, LAY = put or place

Lay down your weapons” (Put or place your guns down)

“I’m going to lie down from this migraine you kids have given me. I can’t wait until school starts again.” (Recline in a dark, quiet room and prayer for the school board to approve year round sessions)

Understand: I’m blaming word processing programs. They’ve been programmed to help us out but binary code is not artificial intelligence. They haven’t advanced enough to pick up on bad grammar or improper usage. We humans know ALL the rules for proper writing and sentence construction. Microsoft Word is still a few sandwiches short of a picnic in this regard. DON’T rely on SpellCheck, I beg you. Get a dictionary. Or pay to use Grammarly.


One is a natural phenomenon seen in thunderstorms and volcanos.


volcanic lightning

And the other is an alternative term for bleached hair


(God forgive me for using a Whoredashian to make a point)

The confusion has become so widespread that when I went to look for images of “lightening” in Google Images, most of the first hits were pictures of lightning.

Again, they are both actual words, but word processing programs cannot deduce from the context which one is appropriate (I will be sending invitations to a “there,” “their,” and “they’re” seminar). It is up to YOU, the actual human being whom an over-stressed, underpaid teacher  attempted to guide through this minefield, to know the difference. If you graduated sixth grade, there is no excuse for screwing up vocabulary and spelling like this.

Of course, if you’ve read all this, shrugged, and said, “Meh. Doesn’t matter”, this is what you’ll become:

sarah palin

Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

(That’s a different English course. English lit. “Macbeth”).

One final shot to drive the point home:


July 17 PS: As of July 16, 2014, Weird Al Yankovic agrees with me:

Couldn't put it better myself.

Couldn’t put it better myself.

“Word Crimes” by Weird Al Yankovic

Yes, I Can

I’m writing this particular post in my iPad, which is not easy (It’s not easy for me. Please tell your Mac-raised 5 year old who just created her thirtieth app to shut up). Mario*, my laptop (previous laptop was Luigi and when he died and was generously replaced by a friend, her son declared that the replacement needed to be named Mario. Far be it from me to argue) For instance, just typing text into this post is a challenge because I find the iPad uncooperative (yes, I suppose I should hit an Apple Genius Bar and learn how to use it to full effect). I’m a Word/PC girl and shifting gears is tough. I was ready to chuck the thing across the room when I switched to writing the post in Pages to translate over. In his day, Mario just did as he was told without this “smarter than you” Apple back talk (well, I think I’m getting it. I swear this thing smirks when I turn my back).

Bottom line, I need to get a new computer. Pronto. I was working on the prequel to “These Foolish Things” on Mario (and since he’s been doing the computer equivalent of coughing up blood, I’ve been saving my work up to Dropbox. I may be Apple illiterate, but I not stupid). I have a lot of stuff important to me saved on that and the error message says something about the hard drive (uh oh…).

Can I just run out to Best Buy and go shopping? No. This has been the Year of Holding On By My Fingernails. (This is bringing up a whole train of thought that I won’t share until I’m working again, with benefits that include mental health and can talk to a therapist). It has not been a lot of fun. Put it to you this way; my hourly wage (and I don’t always work 40 hours. For instance, this week, 8 hours) has dropped 78%. Let that sink in. And the first person who says I should maybe get an education so I don’t have to work a dead-end job: I have a law degree. (No, practicing law in California is not an option) I had years of experience working good-paying desk jobs.
However, I am not going to panic. First of all, I know where my towel is (Douglas Adams reference). I don’t need “Don’t Panic” in large friendly letters.
Secondly, as challenging as this year has been, I’ve been able to pull off a few miracles here and there. For instance, when I needed my car to pass inspection so I could drive legally, it passed. I don’t know how or why (it had previously failed), but it passed and is street legal. When I needed housing in short order, it materialized within 24 hours and the place is exactly the kind of housing I would choose for myself. It’s temporary, but right now, I have an excellent roof over my head. And right now is all that matters.
This computer issue will be resolved at the right time and in the right way. I have no doubt.

Going Mobile…

I have a friend, Dan Corey, who is  behind some outstanding comic book series: “Prophet,” “Moriarty,” and now “Red City.”

Link to Danger Katt

Buy their stuff. It’s excellent.

Anyway, Dan has been making the rounds of conventions and comic book stores. He’s  been on comics  podcasts (Fandom Planet. Great show if you geek out over sci fi, comic books, super heros, etc. On iTunes), talked to the Sherlock Holmes fanbase on THEIR podcasts. He’s been getting around. The idea is not just to sell comic books, but also to connect to fans and industry pros who may be able to further his career.

“Well, hell’s bells,” I thought. “Maybe that’s what I should be doing.”

So, I will be taking Liz Gardner and Ty Hadley on the road.

February 7, 2015

Deep In the Heart

Deep In the Heart

Make your plans, buy your copies, and I will sign IN GOLD SHARPIE!!!

Then in July, continuing the southern swing:

sweet southern

Venue to be determined, but it WILL be Atlanta (How many times have I read/seen “Gone With the Wind?”)

And I will not be hiding behind my table. I will be mingling, meeting, and greeting.

Let’s face it, the mountain hasn’t been coming to Mohammed (although Mohammed would appreciate it since she is extremely low on gas).  So, time to dig out my slip on shoes for traveling (Lucchese cowboy boots, among others) and hit the road.

I’m waiting to hear on a couple of other venues, but I’m getting my act together and taking it on the road.