Happy National Punctuation Day!!!

Do you have any big celebrations planned?  Come on, you can tell me…

In honor of this minor holiday, I thought I would talk about some of my personal issues with punctuation. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

  • I want a comma before then almost all of the time. For some reason, I think in my head that then should be treated like but. In my recent edits of my work in progress, I have changed many a “then” sentence.  One example is I would like it to be correct to say, “He crossed the room, then sat down.” Now why, I don’t know, but I clearly need to become more aware of it, since I had to fix a ton of those. The best explanation that I’ve found about this resides at the Music City Romance Writers site, here. http://www.mcrw.com/index.php/and-then-and-then/ This was from the Grammar Wench, and I found her musings insightful.
  • I over-use the em dash.  This is the long dash that can sometimes be used in place of commas to separate a dependent clause.  I love em dashes.  I need to be more judicious in my use so my prose doesn’t appear choppy.
  • I caught myself several times using multiple exclamation points.  Really?!!??  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

So what punctuation infractions are you fighting as you write/edit your next work?  You know you want to confess. You get amnesty on National Punctuation Day!

I Learned Something Today: French Word Choices

As long as I have been reading and writing, I have never realized that there were two forms of blond/blonde and two forms of fiance/fiancee.  Apparently, when these words came over form the French, they kept their masculing and feminine attributes.

Blonde vs. Blond

Blonde is a noun and is always used to refer to a woman. Blond can be a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it is only male. As an adjective, it can modify a male or female. Some have argued that using the word blonde as a noun is sexist.

Fiance vs. Fiancee

My spellcheck kept kicking back fiance as misppelled. I think it waned the little accent mark. So when I looked it up, fiance is a man engaged to a woman, while fiancee is a woman who is engaged to a man.  I’m not sure how it would treat same-sex couples, but that will be a question for another generation.

Crazy, right?

Identity Crisis: Book Reviews

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Who Am I? Who am I posting as? I’m creating a web identity for Lily, my pen name extraordinaire, and I’ve gotten a few twitter followers, and occasionally some fabulous bloggers will pop over here and give me a comment.

I have a personal twitter account, where I follow some celebrities and occasionally tweet with friends, and I have Lily’s account, who talks about writing and general things that amuse me. Lily is more popular.  (@Lilybishop)

On Amazon, I have my basic account where I exist as my real name. I have written maybe two or three reviews in a decade.

However, in pondering how I can give back to the indie authors who have rocked my world lately, I’ve been wanting to write some reviews.  I have three questions that I would LOVE feedback on.

Dilemma 1: Who do I review them as?

Do I review them as Lily, or me? I looked around and Amazon has alias’s. How does that work with a later pen name if I publish through Amazon Kindle Direct?

Dilemma 2: What do you do about legitimate concerns you have about a book?

Now I’m not planning to trash anyone. This isn’t about negativity at all. In fact, the only negative review that I’ve ever written was against a national NYT best-seller that aggravated me beyond measure. I can guarantee you, it didn’t hurt her sales a bit.(Think Historian)

In general, my only complaint against indie authors has been one who skimped on the proof-reading, and another that wrote out of genre.  (I expect a happy ever after (HEA) in romance and I didn’t get it. In fact, the heroine killed the “hero” in the last chapter. Boo!!! I guess he was an anti-hero, but the author implied all along that he wasn’t the bad man everyone thought, and that he had changed. NOT!)

So, for those books that you just don’t get, for whatever reason, do you review them at all or leave them alone? How can you warn readers that they won’t get a HEA without spoiling it? I don’t want to be bitchy, but this particular author really needs to re-bill herself as straight suspense, not romantic-suspense.

Should I focus on spreading love for the indie books that I believe truly deserve to get additional attention, and ignore the ones that I just didn’t quite get?

Again, I want to be clear that I’m not talking about “competitive reviews” that I’ve read about lately, where someone is trying to bring another author down. That’s not it at all.

Dilemma 3: What Scale do you Use?

I’ve always approached it as a “5” would be hard to earn. But what if 5 means it’s a book you enjoyed, and you would read more by this author. It doesn’t exactly have to be the BEST BOOK EVER, right?

I’m aiming for escapism in what I read and write these days. I don’t expect someone to tell me that my book changed their life. I just want to give them a fun little afternoon.

5 – Great story, great characters

4 – Enjoyed it – had some concerns

3 – Probably won’t remember it but no issues

2 – Serious issues (plot, excessive typos, characters not believable)

Yes, I over-analyze things. I should probably just head on over to the great river and give a shout-out to some of my recent favorites. But if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right, and I want to be fair.

I would LOVE some opinions here!  Thanks in advance for sharing.

This post is a great take of the adage “Kill your darlings”. I am about to purchase her book on writers and social media — We Are Not Alone.

Confessions from a Romance Writer!

One of my favorite bloggers is featuring confessions by writers today. I thought I would join in the fun and put my little secret out there. A shout-out to her post is here. http://www.patricialynne.com/4/post/2012/09/written-confessions-blog-hop1.html

My confession has two parts.

Here goes…. I read (and write) trashy kidnap/abduction romance novels. Yes, I admit it. (They say that’s the first step, right?)  I like all kinds. The hero (or heroine) has to be a good guy who is doing this bad thing for the right reasons. It doesn’t have to be a forcible taking, although that’s the best. The heroine could agree to go somewhere and then not be able to leave. Historical, paranormal, contemporary — you name it, if it’s got a romantic kidnap plot I will snatch it up. Why is that? I don’t know, but why fight it?

Do I want to be kidnapped by a Scottish laird and sent back in time, or trapped on a pirate ship? Of course not. But man, it makes for some steamy reading. So any writers stumbling across this — if you have a kidnap plot, post a link in the comments and if you’re under $5 on the kindle you’ve got almost a guaranteed sale. If I don’t already own it.

My current work in progress, A Strategic Alliance, has the barest hint of a kidnap plot, but it was enough to keep me going.  Stolen away on a yacht with a gorgeous hunky man? I’m there.

The second part of my confession is that, despite my obsession with kidnap/abduction plots, I have not read the big bondage trilogy out there right now. Too many writers that I respect said the writing was atrocious. Plus, the price point was higher than I want. I can get my erotica fix elsewhere, so I passed. (Since I haven’t read it, I don’t know whether there’s a kidnap/abduction component or not, but bondage usually has some elements of forcing or what would be the point?) Let me be clear that most of my kidnap plot ideas are the actual taking. The romance comes later, and and rape, fake-rape, or rape fantasies are never ever involved.

So there you have it. I put it out there. What about you? Do you have a confession?