Another Hopefully Helpful Lecture From A Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Nazi

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Here’s a few more tips, tricks and suggestions on spelling, punctuation and grammar. You won’t find the following in this lecture because I addressed them in my previous lecture:

*There, they’re and their
*You’re and your
*It’s and its
*Definite, definate and defanite
*Separate and seperate
*Focusing and focussing
*The “Do not check spelling and grammar” box in the Language dialogue box on the Review tab
*Apostrophes

But if you can master everything in the previous lecture and everything that follows, you’ll be well on your way to not pissing off an editor every time you hand over a piece of writing. Continue reading

Book Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

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I normally wouldn’t read television series tie-in books but when I saw a Veronica Mars book on the shelf of my local Target, I was excited. After all, it was Veronica Mars. I’ve watched the television show (many times over), I’ve bought the DVDs, I’ve seen the movie (also many times over). And now there is a book series that continues where the movie left off and promising original mysteries so I was prepared to give it a go. Plus I just finished a book that was very serious and I wanted something lighter and that’s certainly what I got. Continue reading

To Write Or Not To Write During The Holidays

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One of the greatest difficulties most writers have is finding the time in their busy lives to write. We’re often lucky if we can find a couple of hours at the end of the day after working to contribute to a household of partners/children/pets, feeding partners/children/pets, cleaning up after partners/children/pets and trying to maintain even a semblance of a social life. So when you know you’re going to have a week or two without one or all of these things, do you spend it writing or do you spend it actually having a break? Continue reading

Book Review: Ninety East Ridge by Stephen Reilly

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I first read this book in 2002 when it was originally released. It’s probably every sibling’s worst nightmare to be continually mentioned only in reference to your more famous brother or sister but that’s how I found out about this book. Matthew Reilly had published several immensely successful books, which I had read, and when I heard his brother, Stephen, had published a novel of his own, I was interested to read it.

I have now read it again thirteen years later as part of several I am rereading in order to post reviews on Goodreads for books that I have only rated. It’s much as I remembered, which is a positive. Continue reading

Announcing the release of my new book, Project December

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I’m very pleased to announce the release of my new book called Project December: A book about writing.

Project December Cover

Project December is all about writing – a guide for writers and wannabes to getting started, developing characters and plot, the writing itself, editing and what to do when the book is finished.

For the next few months, it will be available exclusively as an ebook through Amazon. To find it on Amazon US, click here. To find it on Amazon Australia, click here. And it should be available on all the other local Amazon sites.

Thanks for reading my blog and thanks in advance for reading my book!

Where Have All The Idealists Gone?

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In May this year, I interviewed Barry* for an article. We talked about many things, mostly him, but somewhere in the middle of our conversation, we deviated onto the broader topic of workplaces with poor cultures, poor managers or poor management styles.

He’d just been made redundant from a company he’d been with for over a decade and in that time he’d become jaded and demotivated and he was far from being the only one. From processes that made no sense to workers who were treated with contempt, he’d seen enough to welcome the redundancy and the chance to move on and up in his career, hopefully to a company that didn’t engender the same or similar employee disappointment and dissatisfaction.

My response, in the form of a question, was this: “If good employees leave, how will poor cultures and poor managers ever change?”

Barry didn’t answer. He didn’t know the answer. We finished the interview and as I drove home, the question crystallised in my mind. Because it’s not just the workplace where this is relevant, it’s the entire world. If we all just turn our backs or leave when times get tough or when we encounter difficulties, where will the impetus for change for the better come from?

In short, I wondered, where have all the idealists gone? Continue reading

The Stories Around You, Stereotypes And What You Find When You Scratch The Surface

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For months now, the top of my ideas board has been occupied by the following yet to be explored (until now) idea for a blog post:

“Taking inspiration from the things you see around you every day (myself as murder victim or suspect – what could the police tell about me from my house?)”

For some reason, I kept focusing on the bits and pieces tacked to my refrigerator including photographs of and drawings by various nieces and nephews. And, of course, what these things say about me is that even though I’m single, I am part of an extended (and still growing) family and I am loved. But recently something happened that made me realise I’m too close to the subject matter. Not able to see the forest for the trees.

Because being an aunt is not my defining characteristic and upon entering my house in the event of my unnatural death or to arrest me for someone else’s, the fridge is not the first thing the police would notice.

No, the first thing they would notice is the nine cats. Continue reading

The Benefits Of An Ideas Board

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Ideas Board

I’ve written before about my ideas board. I’ve had it since July when I went out with the specific purpose of purchasing an actual whiteboard to replace the scraps of paper I was writing my ideas on and struggling to keep track of. It now has pride of place in my bedroom (where I do most of my writing); in fact, it’s sitting on a bedside table that is no longer at my bedside but between two windows across the room so I have a good view of it at all times. (There’s a lamp abandoned forlornly on the floor.)

As writers, we can sometimes lose sight of the little things that help make writing easier. My big picture was to write a lot of blog posts. But the small step of buying and implementing the ideas board is what has helped me to do it. Here’s why. Continue reading