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Grammar 101-6: Quotations

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I love quotation marks and I use air quotes enough that you might think it was a tick… that being said, here are the basic rules on quotation marks.

Quotation marks denote the exact words of a speaker. Quotations are necessary if you write something like this: “Go home,” Mark said.

They are unnecessary for indirect quotations. So, if you’re saying, Mark said to go home. There is no need to use quotes.

Quotation marks with in quotation marks should be singlemarks. Example: “Katie was talking to me and she said, ‘this blog is ridiculous,’ and I was totally offended”

Commas and Periods should always be placed inside of quotation marks.

No: Sally said, “I want to go home”.

Yes: “I want to go home,” sally said.

Question marks and exclamation points only reside inside if they are a part of the quote and on the outside if they pertain to the entire sentence, not just the quote.

Did you just mutter, “I wish I wasn’t reading this blog”?

“Do you want to stop reading?”

Well, if you said yes, tha…

Grammar 101-5: Commas

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Commas… I have a serious love hate relationship with these marks. I love to use them. I hate to follow their rules. It is because of this that I thought I’d write this grammar post. Here are some of those rules I hate to follow:

• Commas set off abbreviations such as Jr. & Sr. (There is no comma when the last word in a sentence is Jr. or Sr.)
o Example: Rudolf Cline, Sr., passed away at the age of ninety-two. • Commas separate parts of geographical places.
o Example: I grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon. • Commas are used to create lists.
o Example: I forgot to pick up milk, eggs, and butter while I was out. • Commas are used to separate three or more phrases.
o Example: After I write this blog, reply to emails, and feed my fish, I will continue on my WIP. • Commas are used to separate three or more short clauses.
o Example: I am writing this post, you are reading my blog, and Katie is undoubtedly laughing at me. • Commas separate introductory words and mild interjections from the sentence that f…

What’s in a name? The Quest For The Perfect Title

When it comes to titles, I can assure you I’ve had a tough time.

Back in the beginning Duty & Death’s title was entirely different (I think this is the fourth title it’s had), but then again, back in the beginning, it was one book, not five.

Up until a few months ago, it was only four. When I split D&D in half I suddenly realized that I would have to find a new title for the second half… my initial thought was “Crap.” But that’s no good for a title.

I had a few thoughts for the (now) third book, but they definitely wouldn’t work - very specific to that novel – drat, no cannibalizing. The potential title came to me as I was working through revisions last week.

“Living With the Enemy”

Granted, this is just a working title and is subject to change, but what do you think?

My second novel was a bit easier to title. Typical, isn’t it? The works that I’m not as proud of/don’t intend to pursue publication on at the present are the ones with easy titles. Don’t get me wrong, the origi…

Grammar 101: The whole ie/ei conundrum

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(It was time for another grammar post –though it is not as long as my other posts.)




I will admit that I am one of those individuals that the whole “i” before “e” sometimes still stumps. The old mnemonic phrase “‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’, or when sounded like ‘a’ in neighbor and weigh.” Hasn’t really helped me out when you consider the fact that there are exceptions to the rule, and the phrase “Neither financier seized either weird species of leisure,” is a little bit harder to remember.

Sometimes I despise the English language (though it is rare) and dealing with the words that don’t fit into this pattern generally incites my ire.

What’s in a name?

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I’ve always found names difficult when writing, generally the main characters aren’t hard, but when it comes to the minor characters, it’s like pulling teeth, no matter how integral they are to the story.


I have a story that is, at this point, sitting in my computer as a synopsis. I thought I’d found the perfect name for my main character and, having completed the synopsis, I saved it and went about my business. That very night, I met up with my friend and workout partner, the redheaded dancer, before I left her apartment that night, she just had to show me this flash comic called Salad Fingers. As I’m watching it, I look up to the byline and see that the guy who created this series of flash videos is named “David Firth”… can you guess what my perfect name for that character was? David Firth. I cannot begin to tell you how utterly creeped out I was.

This is the reason I now Google and Wiki, all of my character names before I commit to them.

So what’s in a name? There are characters w…

Grammar 101 - Part 3 Prepositions

We’ve all heard the rule, don’t end a sentence with a preposition. But rarely does anyone delineate what a preposition is. So what is a preposition?


A preposition is a word that links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. They indicate location.

**** AN EXEPTION****

Sometimes, a word that looks like a preposition is actually a part of a verb and is called a particle. (Side note: I hate the word particle.)

Here’s an example: “Miguel turned up the radio.”

Up is a preposition, but in this case it is actually a particle. It is part(icle) of the verb “Turned up”. If you’re not sure if it’s a particle or a preposition, try this test: place the word that you are unsure of at the beginning of the sentence.

Up the radio Miguel turned. This sentence makes no sense, and thus you know that “Up” is a particle in the sentence.

*** END OF EXCEPTION

Here are examples of prepositions (this is not a complete list, there are about 150 prepositions in the English language):

About •…

Grammar 101: Part 2 - Who & Whom

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Who is this you might ask? Who, he is, indeed. Dr. Who to be precise. *le-sigh*

Who and Whom- Oh what a fun little subject. (This is going to be fairly long, so if you want to skip ahead to the part where I actually impart some wisdom on you, please, do skip ahead to the heavily asterisked heading.)

Don’t you just love pronouns like this? Interrogative Pronouns to be precise. Why can’t they just be nice pronouns like the subjective pronouns be they first person (he, she, it, etc.) or second (you) or even inclusive (we). No these little buggars had to be pesky and annoy school age children through to adult hood.

I must amend my statement, I don’t hate all interrogative pronouns. What and which are perfectly fine. I have no problem with you, you may go if you don’t want to hear the rest of this, save your poor little ears the trouble.

Who does Whom think it is! I mean when you use it correctly it sounds so stuffy! Who does it think it is! To Whom does it think it’s speaking? I often fee…

Grammar 101: Part 1 - An Introduction & Its/It’s

I’ve decided to do these because my biggest fan asked me about tomorrow’s topic in an email and I figured, what better way for me to bone up on my grammar (which I’ll admit isn’t often the greatest) by teaching others – it is the best way to learn something, at least that’s what dear ol’ dad says.


In these I'll always let you know when I stop rambling and the real info starts.

As this won’t be a full “lesson” (*giggles incessantly at the idea of someone learning from me in a classroom environment*) I figured I’d start out with something silly, but that tends to trip me up occasionally still.

*** Begin Relevant Information***

“It’s” the shortened version (aka the conjunction) of “it is” or it has. The “i” or “ha” is replaced with an apostrophe and it becomes one word. Not that hard right?

I’ve had issue with this before and I do occasionally find myself writing the wrong thing… its bad, I know. I’m willing to admit that it’s purely an issue of carelessness and not paying attention o…