Friday, November 30, 2012

Dialogue Question- writing tip

In this romantic comedy, the rocky road to love just got rougher. Jake Malone's dead sure he doesn't need anyone to complete or complicate his life.

Meeting the self-assured loner, Carly Anderson disagrees and vows to pursue Jake until he catches her. In her quest, Carly's helped or hindered by a wanna-be Stallone, a larcenous film producer who preys on lonely women and a granny with a black Labrador and a Harley.


Question:  Back when you were teaching, you used to have a handout on dialogue. Do you still have it? What's your best current advice on dialogue?

Answer: Yes. I still have it. See Below.  My best current advice about dialogue is to warn you that it isn't punctuated like eposition, which we were all taught to write in school. In dialalogue it's perfectly fine to use em  dashes, vernacular (go easy on that) and slang. In expositon an ellipse shows that something  has been left out of a quote. In dialogue, it's a long pause, at least long enough to count to three. Far too long for a short change of thought--or an interruption.

Writing Good Dialogue Handout

Pay attention to the way people talk. Listen to their speech patterns. Then pare them down to the bare essentials. That’s dialogue. Avoid vernacular, or overuse of vernacular, anyway. With dialect, less is always more. We are a nation of poor readers. Dialect can be very difficult to write well. This is a lesson I learned – reluctantly I’ll admit – in a workshop with Diana Gabaldon. She wrote a book about a group of 17th century Scots, and  English Outlander. No dialect is a thick as that of Scotland. Diana said she listened to old Scots ballads sung in English and in Gaelic to absorb the rhythm of the speech. There’s a great deal of difference between the speech of the Scots and the Englishwoman, and among the Scots, depending upon their station in life and educational level.  But nobody said, “Hoot mon!” She changed didn’t to didna, and wouldn’t to wouldna, and added some dated terms like “foxed” for drunk. But most of it was in the rhythm of the language -- how the words were put together. Because of the sentence construction, English sounded different when the Scots spoke, but their meaning was never obscured.

Avoid anachronisms and use very little slang, unless it’s some you make up yourself. I read a story set in Biblical times where characters said things like “okay.” Okay is a slang term that didn’t come into use until the 19th century. It wouldn’t have been said in Biblical times. Any time you are uncertain when a term came into use, you can check it in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Slang gets dated and slang terms may change in meaning. Avoid cliches, too. In a 1940 edition of Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, it was fine to describe her father as a “gay man about town,” even though it was a cliche. At that time it meant he was lighthearted and very social. You wouldn’t use that term today, because the word “gay” has taken on a whole different meaning.

Good dialogue should sound natural, but not too much like people really talk. Punctuating dialogue is tricky. First, never let two characters talk in the same paragraph. Commas and other punctuation go inside the quotes. And you must paragraph each time a new person speaks. Finally, Everything a person says at one time (even if they change the subject) goes in the same paragraph. I can't stress too much how important it is to punctuate dialogue correctly. Editors know immediately if it's done wrong, and they also know it will take them a lot of work to fix it. It's never a good idea to make work for your editor.

Never put small talk into dialogue, it just slows everything down. The important thing in dialogue is to leave out stuff that is unimportant and get right to the point.

Here is an example of BAD dialogue the way it might go in real life:

    “Hi, Harry. How are you? And how’s your mother?” Mary said, to her neighbor.
    “Hi, Mary. Good to see you this morning. She’s better thanks.”
    “Oh, good. I’m glad to hear it.” Mary admired the way Harry cared for his aged mother. He was so good to her. Mary wondered if Harry had heard the news about John.  “Say, did you hear about John?”
    “No. Did something happen to him?”
    “He’s dead.”
    “John Smith, who lives across the street? You’re kidding. Right?”
    “No, I’m not kidding. John’s dead.”
    “Really? What happened?” Harry asked.
    “The postman smelled exhaust coming from the garage. He called the cops from my house. It took them 20 minutes before they showed up! Then they had to call a locksmith to get in his house, ” Mary said.
    “Wow. That’s interesting. Which locksmith did they call?” Harry asked, again.
    “Brady’s – the one over on Biscayne. Anyway, the car was still running and John was dead when they found him. But they called for an ambulance anyway. It took them another twenty minutes to get here. Then they took him to the hospital.”
    “Hospital? I thought you said he was dead,” Harry said.
    “He is dead. But they had to go to the hospital, it’s the law,” Mary said. “The paramedics said he was dead all right, but they took him in the ambulance anyway, so a doctor could pronounce him.”
    “Gosh. I can’t believe John’s dead. What was it? Suicide?” Harry asked.
    “You’d think so, wouldn’t you. He’s been so depressed, ever since Evelyn left him,” Mary said.  “But the cops found a bruise on his head. So they weren’t really sure if he killed himself or if it was murder. You know, John had a lot of enemies.”
    “Yes, he did. That Evelyn of his, for one. Not to mention her new boyfriend.”

Notice all the “saids?” Here's a neat little technique you can use. If you show a character in action within the same paragraph as their speech, the reader will assume the character who moved was also the one who spoke. This little trick can get rid of a lot of repetitive language (the saids), and it forces you to insert an image. You only have to be careful to make certain that the person who speaks and the person who moves are the same. If you want to show another character's reaction to the speech, change paragraphs, even if they don't say anything. Treat the movement just as if it were a dialogue reply.

In good dialogue, you leave out all the fluff and repetition and only put the important stuff:

    “Harry, did you hear? John Smith’s dead.” Mary accosted her neighbor
    “No! How did it happen, Mary? Suicide?” Harry’s face looked stunned.
    Mary shook her head. “They’re not certain. Could be murder.”
    “Wouldn’t surprise me – that ex-wife of his always said she’d kill him one day.”
    “You think it was her?”
    “He had a lot of enemies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did it.” Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Her, or her new boyfriend.”

Do you see how 25 lines of dialogue were condensed to seven? And yet all the important information was relayed to the reader.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ray Morand’s Grandma Carchia’s Italian Cookies

                                                        Red Knight Chronicles, Vol. 5

Gunther has returned from the Northern Tribes and has brought back with him a woman he says is Conor’s lost cousin, Evelyn.

In addition to being a warrior-mage, Evelyn has the uncanny ability to communicate with any dragon, wild or domestic. Evfimi doesn’t seem to trust the new recruit, however Akulina finds something strangely familiar about the dragon-speaker, especially the way everyone seems to be captivated by her. Scaled Fist, Nexus, the Elven Queen, and even the supposedly still-grieving, Gunther.

                    Ray Morand’s Grandma Carchia’s Italian Cookies

5     cups white flour
3     Tbsp baking powder
1     cup milk
3     eggs
1     cup sugar
2     tsp flavoring (anise, lemon, orange or vanilla)
½     cup oil
½     cup milk

Beat eggs, sugar, baking powder and flavoring. Gradually add flour up to 3 cups.  Add ½ cup milk. Mix well and gradually add rest of flour, then milk mixing as you go. Pour ½ cup oil over mixture. Knead well about 20 times.

Pinch off a ball about one inch in diameter. Roll into long rope and tie in a knot or cross rope over itself. Bake about eight minutes at 400-F or 204-C degrees.

2         cups powdered sugar
2-3     Tbsp milk
5         drops food coloring
¼         tsp flavoring (your choice)

Combine all ingredients and drizzle over cookies as they cool.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Write what you know?

Set in the Depression and WW II’s aftermath, A Desire Path links a love affair between a married woman and a union organizer with the crisis a famous female journalist faces trying to decide whether to join the Communist Party. Two stories of conflicted loyalties, each a journey along a desire path. Ilse is drawn to Andy because of his involvement in labor causes, even as Andy himself is struggling with a loss of belief. Anna Mae, Andy’s old friend, tries to balance her responsibility to a senile father with a growing sense her left-wing politics have trapped her. After a disastrous encounter with Ilse’s husband, Andy retreats to the mountains. Anna Mae flails about — from Seattle to Moscow, Los Angeles to China — while Ilse gradually discovers her own inner compass.

ISBN 978-1-61386-069-4 Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction.

Question:  People keep telling me to write what I know. What do I know? I'm a  housewife with two grown kids....

Answer: Well you surely know more than how to avoid yellow waxy build-up on your floors. 

For starters, you have been a teen and lived through the teen years of your own children. Maybe you don't know the latest teen slang (nor should you, unless you want what you write to age rapidly!), but you know what issues face every teen, and from both sides.

To continue, whether you were a working mother, or not, you had to interact with other people in a goal-oriented setting, either on a job, at church, or with the PTA, Cub Scouts, etc. So you know about human nature. Unless you lived in a glass bubble, you couldn't survive to your age without learning about human nature. Readers (people) are always interested in other people.

Finally, you have a brain and a heart. Use them to write about what matters to you. Okay, someone else will surely have written about it before, maybe even someone smarter or better-looking, or thinner than you.  But no one can say, exactly what YOU want to say.

Use the things that have happened to you in your life to build a story about someone else. The real details will make the story more believable. You may have more to draw upon than you may think.

One of my favorite authors is the late Dick Francis, a former jockey, who often writes about horse racing. In his second book, a jockey is forced into early retirement through an injury to his hand, and becomes a detective. So he used what he knew – and used it well – to write mystery stories. He also wrote about losing what a person may value most and how that can be survived. So survival became a theme, and a good one for mystery stories.

His heroes were not always jockeys, though. One was a pilot, another a journalist with a polio-stricken wife, a third was an artist who painted in acrylics, and in each case he recreated the millieu realistically, though his beloved horse-racing was always somewhere in the background. It wasn’t until I heard him speak that I learned Francis had painted with acrylics as therapy for his injured hand, that his wife had been stricken with polio as a young woman and had spent months on a respirator, in his closing he mentioned that he had been a bomber pilot in WWII. That sure gave me some new thoughts on the old “write what you know” line.

In all his books, his protagonists espouse "old-fashioned values." They were often raised by elderly relatives, and they cling to things that are beginning to mean little in our modern world: Honor, faith in word and deed, and loyalty to family, friends, and country.

Those are important things for readers to know about. I used to get really angry when critics would say things like, "Francis writes well, for a mystery writer," as if mystery writing, or any other kind of writing, deserves less than the best we can do. He wrote well. He wrote VERY well for anybody at all. And he had things to say that were important in the world, even though, he had once said, "What does an ex-jockey know about writing?" when someone asked him to write his autobiography.

"You write for the newspapers," they said, and offered to get him a ghost, but he wrote SPORT OF QUEENS himself...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Took a few days off... enjoy the holiday.  Will Catch Up on Friday!

    Meanwhile... the ponies survived Sandy just fine, though the OC Boardwalk died.

        As did our Dishwasher, another victim of the trouble with the well pump, caused by the storm. Roger is out looking at new ones. Guess what I'm getting for Christmas...!

Meanwhile, as a holiday gift to everyone, no matter what holiday you celebrate, GHOST DANCER IS FREE until the end of December.

You can download Free it from:

or from:

This is PDF format that will work with all computers and most reading devices. You can e-mail me at if you'd rather have it in HTML or Rich Text.

Unfortunately we cannot make it free from all sites, but these two will work for you.

Happy Holidays!

Now back to writing my annual poem.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


We are thankful for our family, our friends, our blessings

and for all of you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Contract Questions and Answers

Just one of Elena Bowman's excellent fantasy/sci-fi-mystery-thrillers.

New Contract Questions and Answers

Questions from author Elena Bowman 

Dear Arline:

You asked us to look over the new contract and make comments on what we saw and what we thought.  Since my daughter Christine is an Attorney, I thought she should look at it because what do I know about contracts?  She has made several suggestions and I thought I would send them along to you to see what you think. Anyway, here goes:

Under Publishing Rights: 
4th Paragraph States:

All rights in the Work not specifically granted to Publisher in this agreement are reserved by the author and those granted may be returned to the author upon request after five years from the actual publication date printed in the originally released work, or earlier at the discretion of the publisher.   

If it is possible, should the  "dates granted to the publisher" state the "actual dates" granted to the publisher, that is: day, month, year?

That's a good idea, but not too practical from our end.

First, the contract has to be signed before our work begins. That is the official "date of agreement."
We need a contract that we can use for all the authors and that is easily understood and can be downloaded and filled in by each of them.  It says "all rights not listed remain with the author," that's clear enough if someone comes along and wants to make a movie, YOU negotiate the sale of movie rights, collect the money and laugh all the way to the bank, etc. We have nothing to say about that. We are only interested in e-book and Print on D
emand license to publish rights.

The publication date is printed in the front of the book, when the editing is finished. Here's the publication page for CATHARINE'S RING.

© 2011 Elena Dorothy Bowman. All Rights
Reserved (only the author's name is given, as she owns all rights)

First Electronic Edition, January, 2011
© 2011 cover art Car’jan (Karen Bowman)
Used with permission.

Publishers Note: This book is a work of fiction based
entirely on the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to
actual persons is purely coincidental. Real places mentioned
in the book are depicted fictionally and are not intended to
portray actual times or places.

All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced
in any form or by any means without the prior written
consent of the Author or Publisher, excepting brief quotes
used in reviews. is a subsidiary of:
Write Words, Inc.
2934 Old Route 50
Cambridge, MD 21613

ISBN 1-59431-909-X or 978-1-59431-909-91
Fax: 410-221-7510
Bowker Standard Address Number: 254-0304

So the official publication date for that book is Jan. 1, 2011 and five years from that would be Jan. 1 2016. But there was no way to know when the book would be completed until it WAS finished and put up for sale. Also the contract is self-renewing after that date, so if we both do  nothing, the book continues to stay in print and be for sale.

It is easy enough to find the date listed on the copyright page. It's right there for everyone to see. It will never be the same date for any two books by one author.  The difference between when the contract is signed, and when the book is released can be as little as 30 days. It has been as long as 18 months when authors didn't return galleys and delayed completion for one reason or another, illness, travel, family crises, etc.  If we set a date for it to be completed, based on the average or expected date of release, and if for some reason cannot release it by that date, we would be unable to fulfill the terms of our own contract. Remember, it is the timing of the author's delivery of the needed materials that controls the actual release date.

We added this clause hoping to eliminate folks who jump eagerly from one publisher to another for no particular reason. We don't charge for book prep, or design services, or editing fees or typesetting and so on, but we invest our time and salaries and it costs us up to $500 to get a book ready to sell and set it up for sale everywhere.  We make less or share the same amount from sales revenue as the author does. Our company exists on the revenue from authors' sales. After all thework is done, when sales didn't meet their expectations, some authors have asked for their rights back in six months and gone elsewhere. We feel that is unfair, after we have invested time, skill and money and that they give us so little time to try and recoup that loss. Our hope with this clause is for people to think carefully before they sign.  We make a committment to our authors, and this contract outlines the work that we will do. IF they are the kind of author who wants to "skip around" this clause should discourage them from signing with us.

It also says we can let the time constraint go at our discretion. Say, for instance, Disney wanted to buy the Sarah's Landing series for a TV series, but only on condition that the book contracts be cancelled. We would certainly give you those rights back. Anyone who knows us and has worked with us, knows we would never stand in the way of further success for any of our authors. But that would be a one-time deal at the "discretion of the publisher," not a contractual obligation.

6th Paragraph States:

Under US Copyright law, the author’s rights originate at the date of creation and belong to him or her for life plus  an additional 70 years. When it expires, the author's designated assignees may renew the copyright for an additional 75 years. In the event the author, though illness or other untoward circumstances, should no longer be able to handle his or her own business affairs, the below named individual, heir, or charity is designated as assignee...

I will correct the time line on this as shown in blue above.

According to the Law Books she has, Under the U.S. Copyright Laws, the author rights originate as soon as the manuscript is written and for the life of the author plus 70 years. That for the author's designated assignees for an additional 75 years, but that there is no further renewable of 75 years after that.  Thought we should mention this.

Thank you so  much for helping us correct this. YOU are absolutely correct!

Book Production Costs:
4th Paragraph

Publisher will use the house’s own book design in typesetting and cover lay-out.

This seems to conflict with the 9th Paragraph

Book covers: Publisher will provide a full color cover design at no cost to the author unless the author wishes to use work by his or her own private outside cover artist. Costs of any outside editorial services or cover art the author deems necessary or proper will be done with approval of the publisher, and by private arrangement between the author and the service providers, and will not be paid for by the Publisher, but payment to any outside service provided will be the sole responsibility of the author.

(Does this paragraph mean that if the author uses an outside cover artist,  the Publisher has to approve what the cost may be to the author before the author can use a private cover artist?)


What this means is that we provide the cover design and editorial services free. Other POD publishers charge for this service and one of them charges  $750 for a color cover design. If the author wants a different cover from the one we make, or to hire a private editor (many who don't speak English well, do that) the author can make private arrangements with the artist or editor and the Publisher is NOT responsible for paying those bills. How much the author pays is his or her own business. The publisher may look at the design and request refinements to meet with technical needs and production specifications, with due explanation.

It also means the Publisher must approve the final design. Elena, you often get your children to design covers and they are very talented graphic artists. Another author demanded to use as his cover a crayon sketch of a horse dropping excrement into the road that had been made by his great-grandson in Kindergarten class. We said no and eventually dropped his book from our list of planned publications due to this and his other demands. We agree that we "didn't understand his sense of humor." 

We suggested he would be much happier working with a vanity press, where he could make all the decisions himself and pay them to do what he wants.  Yet another author wanted us to pay Thomas Kinkade to paint her a cover.  We are a small family firm and neither of us are fine artists, though both of us have received recognition awards from EPIC for our cover designs. Needless to say, we use stock photos, or photos we have taken, to create most of our graphics.

7th Paragraph States:

With the exception of dialogue, Publisher may make corrections of grammar and typographical errors without the Author’s consent. US spelling and grammar rules are to be used throughout with the dictionary at to be used as the spelling authority.

Question:   What if the language and grammar pertains to the way the characters speak, and changing the grammar may change the effect the author wished to make?

Dialogue is often not spoken in correct English by choice.  We expect that to happen. When Mark Twain sent The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to his publisher they started to correct his dialogue and the result was a change in publisher. But there are other distinctions of language by country. For instance, in the US good-bye gets a  hyphen, even though most spell checkers will accept it without one the dictionary says it should be there.

Terms of Contract
 Paragraph 2 states:

Publisher may, at its discretion, remove the Work from publication or distribution for reasons of poor sales, or any other reason deemed by the Publisher to be injurious to the Publisher’s or Author’s best  interests. Publisher shall give due notice to Author of any removal from distribution. If the publisher removes the Work from sale at all venues, this contract shall terminate and all rights licensed to the Publisher herein shall revert to the Author.

If the Author owns the Copyright to the work(s) involved, shouldn't returning the Copyright back to the Author be included in this paragraph if there is a termination of the Contract?

We do not copyright the work. We clearly state the author's copyright on page iv. You will always see only the author's name on the copyright page. By signing the contract the author licenses us to publish the work world wide.  We only contract for the right to publish and we define which rights are covered by this agreement, early in section 1.


Insolvency or sale of Publisher:
Paragraph 3 States:

If the Publisher sells its assets to another publisher who does, or plans to, market and promote books of the type and genre of the Work, the successor publisher will be bound, as a minimum, to the same terms delineated in this agreement. If the successor publisher does not, or does not plan, to market and promote books of the type and genre of the Work, all rights delineated in Section I shall revert to the Author not more than ninety days after the sale of Publisher.

All royalties due for sales of books before the transfer of ownership of the company will be paid by the Publisher. After the date of transfer, the owner will pay any royalties due.

1)  Shouldn't there be a sentence or two that states if the Publisher sells its assets to another publisher, all royalties still due to authors at the time of sale will be awarded?
Yes. I will add the above wording.

Audit Accounting:
Paragraph 2 States:

Publisher will keep accounts of all receipts and expenditures regarding the Work, and these accounts will be available for Author’s inspection. Author may, on reasonable notice, through his/her designated representative, examine Publisher’s records that relate to the Work. Such examination shall be at the Author’s expense. If any errors are found, Publisher shall pay Author any sums due, up to the amount owed Author by Publisher, within ninety (90) days.

There is a discrepancy here in the following sentence: 

Publisher should be capitalized and,

If any errors are found, Publisher shall pay Author any sums due, up to the amount owed Author by Publisher, within thirty (90) days.   Is it 30 days or 90 days?

Thank you so much for finding that, Christine!

We pay quarterly. In most cases we are paid quarterly by the various sales venues as well.  In practice, if a book is withdrawn, and we become aware of sales that happened before the cancellation, we send the author the regular royalty payment, with a note that says, "This is for sales made before cancellation."

Also due to the "relay time" from sales venues with "affiliate" sites, it may take as long as 3 months to notify every place the book is for sale and get it removed from on-line venues.

Civil Rights
1st Paragraph states:

Please initial_____. Under this agreement, both worldwide digital e-book rights and Print On Demand print rights are covered by the terms. No second contract is needed to do both.

Since this is a contract the initials POD should be spelled out. 

THANK YOU both so much!!


I trust sending you this does not offend you, but since you asked for comments, these are what we thought we should point out.

Actually, this is exactly what we were hoping for, Christine and Elena. Many thanks to both of you!

Shelley is young and my hope is she will take over the company when I get too feeble to continue (many years from now, I hope) and Write Words, Inc. will be cooking along for many, many years to come. It's a great long-term plan as it gives authors more opportunity to publish, keeps books in print longer, (Books published by the Big Six almost always go out of print within a calendar year.) and we hope it encourages new writers as well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Cookies - recipe

This book would make a wonderful gift for a Christian of any denomination. It examines the parables and allows the reader, or an Bible Study Group, to journey and journal with Jesus, as they search for meaning in their own lives today, by meditating, exploring, and writing about Jesus's teachings for themselves.

For those who saw Shelley Chase's status today, here's our take:

Bake a few cookies together.

Thanksgiving Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened in microwave
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups Chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries
1 tsp
1 1/2
cup pecan pieces

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add dry pudding mix; beat until blended. Add eggs and baking soda; mix well. Gradually beat in flour until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3.  Drop tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Catching UP!

Books that went to press, or back to press, this week:

WILT THOU BE MINE, by Ann Nolder Heinz

 Gallleys that went out, or went out again, this week: 

GAME FACES, by Kathryn Flatt

TWO FACES: TWO-FACED by Kathryn Flatt



COUNTING ON YOU, by Dr. Kris Condi

Work began or continued on the following:
I THE SPARROW, by Marjorie K. Doughty



TIME, by Gianni D. Hayes
FREE FALL, by Ann Nolder Heinz

News in this Morning

Fictionwise is going out of Business after Jan 1, 2013

As you may know, Barnes & Noble acquired Fictionwise, Inc. (Fictionwise) on March 3, 2009.  Fictionwise runs several e-Book websites, including, and  Over the past few years All Your Titles have been for sale on those sites. Since the advent of Nook and Kindle, there has been a significant decrease in demand for many of the eBook formats that sells. In contrast, the new industry standard eBook format supported by Barnes & Noble--ePub--is growing in popularity.

This letter is to notify you that Fictionwise will wind down its operations on December 4, 2012. The Fictionwise sites (including, and will end sales on December 4, 2012 and U.S. 
Fictionwise customers will cease to have access to their Fictionwise Bookshelf through the site after December 21, 2012. Customers outside the U.S. will cease to have access to their Fictionwise Bookshelf through the site after January 31, 2013. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grammar is different -- writing tip

A great new addition to a popular series, by a Canadian Writer.

Question:  Don't know if you remember, but I'm your old student Marie Fox from Ontario, Canada. Recently I submitted a manuscript to a US publisher and received a "return" letter saying that I had a good story, but there were too many grammar and spelling mistakes.  If you do remember me, you know I am a stickler for grammar....

Answer: Of course I remember you, Marie. You had that great wilderness story going. Good to hear from you. This may come as a surprise to you, and to many others, but when the US formulated a rebellion in 1776, they also started to use their own grammar and spelling rules. 

Even those change over time.  If you read a classic, say LITTLE WOMEN, you will find that many words used to be hyphenated that no longer require them, now. To-day and To-morrow were once t he rule! Now they'd be a Big Mistake.

One thing you can do to help  is to run the US version of spell check, when you plan to submit to a US publisher.

And yes, in the US that's spell check -- not cheque. If you lived in the US, I'd be your neighbor, not neighbour, and red would be my favorite color, not colour...and so on. 

The Brits, including Canada, have their own grammar and usage rules, as well. For instance the use of apostrophe s, to show possessives. In Britian, an ordinary name, like Sam, gets an apostrophe S to show possession. Sam's. But if a name ends in S the apostrophe gets no following S, the apostrophe alone is enough to show possession in the Queen's country. 

Thomas' car, belongs to Thomas in Canada.

Thomas's car, belongs to Thomas in the US.

But in the US a name ending is S DOES get both the apostrophe and S to show possession, unless the S shows a plural possessive. Then it gets the apostrophe alone... Go figure.

To make things  even more complicated, many US colleges teach grammar and usage from the Strunk & White style guidebook, but they were British and their rules of grammar are British.

And finally, if Thomas were a whole family and the car belonged to all of them, it would be:

The Thomas' car -- even in the US.

Anyway, my point is that things are different down here in the Southern provinces.  So you might want to give your finished ms. a run with US spelling and grammar check, before sending it along to a US publisher.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Easy Dressing

A great series, by an Eastern Shore 

Author also works as a freelance editor.

Thanksgiving Dressing

I learned in Food-Handling Class that the easiest way to give folks salmanella is to stuff the stuffing inside the bird. By the time it is cooked thoroughly, the bird will be completely dried out. It's MUCH healthier if cooked separately. 

Personally, I like to start with a stove top box mix of regular turkey or even chicken dressing and prepare it according to the directions, using the full amount of liquid that it calls for, but remembering that some will boil away while the liver is cooking, so it will be okay to add a little more liquid later.

To the boiling water (before adding the dressing mix): 

1. add, the turkey liver (remove when firm and chop finely).
4 tbsp of butter
1 bay leaf
 1/2 tsp of course ground black pepper

Place the dry stuffing in a covered 3 qt. casserole and add:
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sage
4 tbsp of butter
The Finely Chopped cooked Turkey liver
1 very finely chopped (or grated) onion.

Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well:
Add 1/2 cup white cooking wine (or chicken broth if you are a teetotaler) 

If the dressing seems a bit dry, add more wine.  If it's too wet, pop it in the oven (uncovered) for 10 minutes.

Cover with the casserole top until time to serve.  If it has  cooled, you can pop it in the microwave for a minute or two to warm it through. Just before serving: spoon 3 tbsp of the turkey  roasting pan dripping over the top.

I know that purists like to use all the giblets in the dressing, but I find most of them too "chewy" and after years of scraping remnants off plates and into the garbage, I have learned to leave them out. If I'm in a "purist" frame of mind, I grind them up in the blender and add them to the gravy.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Cake for a Thanksgiving Change

A tale of Thanksgiving for youngsters of all ages, 
and an excellent gift for the young ones 
on your  Holiday giving list.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

an easy holiday treat!

1 pkg.  (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup  water
1 cup  canned pumpkin
1/3 cup  oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup  chopped Walnuts (Black walnuts are good for those who like them)
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened
1/3cup  packed dark brown sugar
1cup  thawed COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping

Make It

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer 2 min. or until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 30 to 32 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
BEAT Neufchatel and sugar in small bowl with mixer until well blended. Add COOL WHIP; mix well. Spread over cake.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Please Comment...

...on our sample new contract. We are aiming for a fair-to-all, clear contract that will simplify the process and would like to put it into effect by Jan. 1.

We have had very little response on this issue. Please do read the contract. No payment has not changed, but we truly want to know if any parts of the contract is unclear.

So far the only question we had was about the warning we included about online e-mail scams, that can be received by anyone. We felt it only fair to include a warning if asking people to sign up for electronic payment.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fictionwise Best-Sellers this week

Based on data gathered within the last 20 days.    Icon explanations
1. Long [128273 words]Free Fall by Ann Nolder Heinz [Suspense/Thriller/Mystery/Crime]
2. Long [62761 words]Sandbluff Murders by C. M. Albrecht [Suspense/Thriller/Mystery/Crime]
3. Mid-Length [49431 words]Ideal Society by James G. Piatt [Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller]
4. Long [71385 words]Bodily Harm by Arlene Stadd [Suspense/Thriller]
5. Long [61651 words]Go Tell Aunt Rhody by Thornton Parsons [Mainstream/Mystery/Crime]
6. Long [91627 words]A Cup of Joy: Harmony Village Series, Vol. 6 by Anna Dynowski [Romance/Spiritual/Religion]
7. Long [55683 words]The Comfort of the Shepherd: Parable Prayer and Meditation by Barbara Garro [Spiritual/Religion/Self Improvement]
8. Long [73028 words]When Dead Cats Bounce by Newton Love [Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller]
9. Long [84333 words]Class Reunion by Michael E. Field [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
10. Long [81574 words]Army of the Dead [Red Knight Chronicles Book 1] by Ray Morand [Science Fiction]
Highest Rated for
Based on highest average ratings by at least 5 readers.    Icon explanations
1. Long [66889 words]A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
2. Long [121796 words]Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [Classic Literature]
3. Long [61049 words]Minder's Oath [High Places Series: Book 2] by Nina M. Osier [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
4. Long [98906 words]Ghost Dancer by Arline Chase [Historical Fiction]
5. Long [113180 words]Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini [Suspense/Thriller/Classic Literature]
6. Long [57142 words]The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
7. Long [75310 words]The Secret Adversary [Tommy and Tuppence Book 1] by Agatha Christie [Classic Literature]
8. Long [68911 words]Dark Elf: [Book 2 of the Red Knight Chronicles] by Ray Morand [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
9. Long [70408 words]Slow Dancing with the Angel of Death [Hollis Ball and Sam Westcott Series Book 1] by Helen Chappel [Mystery/Crime/Humor]
10. Long [76981 words]Tortured Souls [A

Catching UP!

Books that went to press or back to press this week:

WILT THOU BE MINE, by Ann Nolder Heinz


Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:

TWO FACES: TWO FACED, by Kathryn Flatt


Work began or continued on the following:



TIME, by Gianni D. Hayes


I THE SPARROW, by Marjorie K. Doughty

FREE FALL, by Ann Nolder Heinz