Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Sunday, January 09, 2011
From the end of Chapter One of Lost Without You:
Christopher drove home, where his mother would be waiting for him. He knew something wasn’t right with him; the feelings surging through his body, the thoughts filling his mind, felt like something trying to take control over his body. He’d felt this way before, but not in years. He was younger then, less mature. This time, he’d handle it on his own.
He pulled into the driveway and killed the car, but didn’t go in yet. Mother couldn’t see him like this; he had to calm down first or she’d ask whether he’d taken his meds.
Rather, my poison. I’m fine—I don’t need any meds.
He hadn’t needed them for nearly two years, but he’d taken them faithfully in spite of the side effects until March, nearly two months ago. He blamed his extra twenty pounds and receding hairline on those pills. Not to mention the headaches and nausea. And tossing and turning every night, unable to sleep. Poison—that’s what those chemicals were. Brooke deserved a man without love handles or a shiny scalp. So he went off them.
Still gripping the steering wheel, a surge of emotion shot through Christopher again. He looked over at the passenger seat and stroked the spot where Brooke had sat minutes before. He wanted nothing but her. He needed her. What went wrong? Everything was perfect until she pulled that surprise out of nowhere tonight. Back and forth his hand went, stroking the seat. No matter. He’d win her back. The two of them would be together, in this life or the next. No matter what it took.
He tried to even out his breathing so Mother wouldn’t ask any questions. Even if she didn’t shove the pills down his throat, she might trick him into taking them inside food or—worse—drag him to see Dr. Hamilton again. He couldn’t risk that. So he leaned against the headrest and closed his eyes, breathing deeply while running his fingers across Brooke’s seat. After a few minutes he adjusted the rear view mirror to peer into his eyes. He blinked, searching his expression for anything Mother could find amiss. With one final breath, he got out, closed the car door, and headed up the porch. He glanced at his watch. Mother would be watching one of those news magazine shows. If he came in with a smile and gave her a kiss on the cheek, she might not ask why he was home early.
Christopher reached for the doorknob then gave one final glance at the passenger seat. Brooke would be his—he’d see to that. As he opened the front door, he couldn’t help but smile.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Sample Sunday is for authors to share a bit of their Kindle-published titles. I'll post a sample of Lost Without You sometime soon, but today I thought I'd put up a piece from my grammar book, There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd, which is now on Kindle for all of 99 cents.
Below is the section that discusses splitting infinitives: what does it mean to split an infinitive, and is it wrong to do so?
(Check out the #SampleSunday hash tag on Twitter to read other samples from Kindle authors.)
At some point in history, grammarians and teachers decided that Latin, a dead language, should be our guide. Why it made any sense to use another language to prescribe English grammar, I’ll never know, but Latin is the basis for the argument that we shouldn’t split infinitives (and a bunch of other silly grammar “rules”).
Here’s the crux of the old argument: In most languages, the infinitive or base form of a verb is a single word.
Since I know Finnish best, I’ll use it as our example.
English: to be
You can’t take the Finnish olla and split it up. It’s one word. The same holds true for the French être and the Spanish ser. The infinitive is one word. Of course you can’t split it up and have it make any sense.
But English has two words for the infinitive: to be. So, heck, let’s throw something between them: to happily be
That’s what is called a split infinitive. Frankly, unless you’re writing a paper for cranky Mrs. Robinson from eighth grade who insists on her students abiding by antiquated rules, split infinitives to your heart’s content. Although you shouldn’t overuse any construction, splitting an infinitive isn’t wrong.
Consider how utterly flat the classic tagline from Star Trek would be if it held to this “rule”:
To go boldly where no man has gone before.
Sorry, Mrs. Robinson. That lacks punch. It’s lame. We really need to split that infinitive:
To boldly go where no man has gone before.
Whether you like Vulcans or avoid them like a bad rash, you have to agree that the original tagline is the superior one.
From Chapter 2: Grammar Grapples, There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd
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