Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing Wednesday: A Plethora of "Homos"



If you're here because of the provocative blog title and itching for a fight, simmer down. This is a post about WRITING and EDITING, not sexual preferences. I may be a romance writer, but not everything is about sex. (Just most things.) I first wrote about this subject in my "Write Way" column in the Spring 2013 issue of CapeWomenOnline... but with the PLETHORA of mistakes I've found just in the last week in both work and pleasure reading, I'm sharing again. It bears repeating. (Nothing ever "bares" repeating. Just so you know.)

Anyway.

I still have vivid memories from elementary school, where they tried to make learning the intricacies of the English language a “fun” experience, which is most definitely is not. (In fact, they may have given up completely on trying to teach some of these finer points as the mistakes in books and journalism are running rampant.)

Back then, however, there were usually crayons involved. And sometimes math. Like when you draw pictures of “butter” on the left and “fly” on the right with a big plus sign in between them? What does it equal? Butterfly! Ah, the beauty of compound words. Or, the beauty of a stick of butter that suddenly sprouts colorful wings, depending on the student’s sense of humor.

By fourth grade, the teachers tried to explain about homonyms, homophones, and homographs. Also with drawings, trying to show how words that sound alike can mean different things. Sometimes these words are spelled the same way, sometimes they’re spelled differently.

(No wonder English is such a tricky language to learn!)

So what’s the difference between all these homo words? And why should you care, now that you’re out of grammar school? (Hmmm, and why do they call it “grammar” school?)

Keep in mind, the Latin root “Homo” means “Same.” It’s what these terms have in common – they’re talking about words that have something that’s the same. They are confusing terms because they also mean something is different – meanings, spellings, and even pronunciation.


1. Homonyms are words that sound the same, are spelled the same but mean different things.

Think of it as a sort of math equation: Homo = same + nym = word.

Examples:

Bear arms; but don’t arm a bear.
Spring into action in Spring, my favorite season.


2. Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.

Think of it this way: Homo = same + phone = sound

Examples:

A bear without fur would be bare.
The plumber ducked under the pipe to grab his duct tape.


3. Homographs are different. And tricky, especially for non-native English speakers. These are words that are spelled the same way but are pronounced differently and have different meanings.

Again, with the math equation: Homo = same + graph = write

Say the following examples out loud, and see what I mean. The words look the same on the page, but when you know the meaning, you know they are pronounced differently.

Examples:

Tear a paper –or- cry tears of joy (the first “ea” is pronounced like “a” the second sounds like “e”)
Lead a parade –or- a ton of lead weight (the first is pronounced “leed” the second “led”)

But it’s not just the “ea” vowels that can be tricky. Sometimes a single vowel can change sound, too… like in “bass.” (Bass guitar, bass fisherman) It’s a homograph. Same spelling, different word entirely.

Cool trivia facts, Ms. Editor. But why do I care?

Well, Dear Reader, you should pay attention because homophone misuse accounts for MOST OF THE COMMON WRITING MISTAKES OUT THERE. Using a word that sounds like the one you’re looking for… but means something else entirely. This all-too-common mistake plagues every type of writing, from novels to text books to student essays to that report you were supposed to have on the boss’s desk ten minutes ago.

(If I had a quarter for every time I’ve seen affect/effect misused, I’d be a millionaire! and don't get me started on insure/ensure! OMG!)

The computer won’t catch these mistakes. Spell check is useless in the case of homophones, homonyms, or homographs. If you’re unclear about which word you mean to use, look it up. And don’t think your editor is mean when she corrects you.

Now share! What mistakes trip you up in your own writing? What mistakes drive you bonkers when you come across them in your reading? 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Book Review: Tempted by a Kiss, by Anna Durand

Tempted by a Kiss, by Anna Durand
Published 2016 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Mel Thompson just dumped her cheating ex after two years together. Now she's determined to understand the allure of casual sex by having a steamy fling of her own at a notoriously raunchy underground club. When her best friend, Adam Caras, catches on to her plan, he makes a surprising offer to derail her. If she wants a hot fling, he'll give it to her.

Who better than Adam, renowned lady-killer, to demonstrate the erotic pleasures of a one night stand? Sex could ruin their friendship, but after a soul-searing kiss, Mel fears one night may never be enough.
My Take:

I'm so glad I won a copy of this novella in a recent Summer Blog Hop, because I haven't been reading a lot of short stories lately and probably would not have purchased this one. My mistake because this is an absolutely absorbing short tale of lust and love and sizzling hot sex. This first person POV romp is pretty steamy, thus shorter was probably better, so as not to melt my e-reader.

Our heroine Mel has just dumped her longtime boyfriend after finding out he'd been cheating on her for years. The tip-off? A treasure trove of explicit sex tapes she discovers on his cell phone that the scumbag kept of his extracurricular encounters. Ewww. She heads out to celebrate her 30th birthday alone, hoping to find a one-night stand to erase the memory of her ex once and for all.

Mel's best friend from childhood is Adam, a hunky firefighter with quite the reputation as a lady's man. He shows up just in time to thwart her pickup plans and offer an alternative of his own: a one night stand with him. Ultimately he wants more out of Mel than one pleasurable night of passion, which becomes more clear to her (and to the reader) as this steamy story progresses.

Anna Durand creates tension and longing with every word, truly a master of the genre.  Well written characters with deep and complex emotions despite the short nature of a novella. I enjoyed every minute of this tale and look forward to reading more (and longer) works from Ms. Durand in the future.

Grab your 99 cent copy now on AMAZON

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Feature: Excerpt from MY KIND OF CRAZY

About the Book:


Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce.
Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle's business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He's not looking for anything complicated - until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls.
Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it's the kind of crazy that she can live with... for the rest of her life.

Excerpt:


He reached out and gently wrapped his fingers around her arm, not letting her leave the front hall. “Kendall?” 

Again with the major electrical sparks zinging through her! She was afraid to look him in the eye, afraid he’d be able to see it in her face, the devastating effect he had on her. They stood so close she felt the heat from his body radiating, warming the small space between them. His touch was fire on her bare skin. She finally raised her gaze to meet his eyes, luminous and deep. She felt like she might fall into those green pools and drown.

Breathe in, breathe out. She searched for words to answer the unasked questions in his eyes but none came to her.

“Kendall.” He whispered her name again as if it were the answer to some puzzle he was trying to solve.

Thoughts whirled through her head at lightning speed. Nothing about this made any kind of sense— especially not her attraction to a complete stranger. But there was no denying the electricity that ran through her body from his simplest touch.

“I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” Her low whisper matched his.

“What are you looking for?” He moved closer, his lips brushing her mouth, tasting of beer and salted peanuts. His warmth pulsed through her in shock waves, her traitorous body responding all too eagerly. He tasted so good, the salt sizzling on her tongue. The kiss shifted from soft and gentle to solid and deep. Arms slid around her, pulling her close, but she was too wrapped up in the kiss to protest. Why complain? He felt so good, the hard muscles of his arms and planed chest underneath that thin dress shirt, and another hardness evident, despite his proper dress pants.

Suddenly Kendall remembered that this was the same man who was fooling around with the married cougar of a librarian. She wanted to be outraged for the unwitting spouse, but all she could think was, Lucky librarian.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and shoulders. Vaguely she registered the wall behind her, pressing hard against her back. His clever tongue tangled with her own, sending fresh waves of desire rippling through her.

Even as her body screamed Yes! she slid her hand between them, firmly pushing him backward and breaking the connection. “I can’t do this. I don’t want to get hurt again.” Her eyes searched his before she turned her head to look away. If she looked into those eyes for one more second she would forget all about saying no and let her body do whatever it wanted.



Grab your copy on AMAZON