Tricky Grammar

Never Trust Grammar. Even if it is Delicious.

Plurality. Not that kind.

You just can’t trust grammar. Maybe, to be fair, you can’t trust grammar and etymology.

Our American English is like shish kebab – each word on the stake is part of the same delicious meal, but each one is also a totally distinct vegetable. Or in this particular case, a totally distinct flower.

I just looked up the plural of crocus to see if it is crocuses (easier to say) or croci (funnier to look at). Turns out either one is acceptable. In fact, it’s even okay to use the singular form, i.e., “While thinking about my blog post I accidentally stepped on a cluster of crocus”. Or crocuses. Or croci.

Not helpful. Because for those of us who suffer from indecision, multiple options like this can bring on total gridlock.

The problem is certain words like octopus, syllabus and cactus which originate in ancient Greece are pluralized as though they were of Roman origin. Think about alumnus/alumni and you get the idea.

Which begs the question, are these words purposely disguising themselves as ancient Romans and if so, what is their end game?

Are they operating undercover in our cities and towns, covering up their ancient Greek accents with more modern ancient Roman declensions? Can we trust words which have replaced their Grecian garb with togas?

Are they friends or foes? Do they mean to trip us up with their tricky pluralizing and are they laughing at us when we do trip up? Are they planning to go further undercover and re-emerge as, say, ancient Chinese words?

These are the kinds of things we all worry about. Okay, maybe you don’t. But apparently I do.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

Romance Writers

Shipwrecked with Romance Writers.

When Being Marooned is a Good Thing.

Romance writers have odd problems. You know you’re in trouble when you haven’t been able to write in a couple days and you are lonely for your characters. How is that even possible?

I’ve only known Jock Durrell for two days in any depth, not exactly a meaningful relationship. Two days is barely even shaking hands.

But Jock is turning into just the sort of slightly irascible person I enjoy spending writing time with, primarily because he is kind to the bone. He just has a hard time owning that.

So I miss him. But it’s worth it, because I’ve been having sooo much fun.

Instead of hanging with Jock and delving into what makes him tick, I’ve been at the NECRWA conference this weekend which, for those of you uninitiated, is an annual convening of New England authors who write romances. Coolest thing ever.

First, because I can learn and relearn how to write better, how to think better and how to reach readers more effectively.

Second, because I get to spend time with fascinating conversationalists. Nobody tells a story like an actual storyteller.

But the best part is the “There’s room for all of us on this boat. Come on in and join us in the chorus of this sea chanty!” atmosphere.

This is why, if you are ever lost at sea, your best bet is a wandering barge full of romance writers. It might take you a little longer to get home, but you won’t mind. You’ll be having too much fun singing sea chanties.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

 

Library Books, Indulgence

Library Books. As Good as Chocolate.

Self Indulgence. Again.

I drove to the library to keep my husband company while he picked up a book for himself and I am mortified to say I walked out with twelve library books.

Ok. So I know I said I wasn’t going to review any more library books until I had my next novel well underway. Lies. All lies.

This is why you can’t trust people who promise you things over the internet.

When I got home, I started reading before I took my coat off. Talk about lack of restraint. On the other hand, it had been more than a week. And I was feeling malnourished.

The first book I devoured was Night School by Lee Child. I love the consistent quality of his characters. Because of that consistency, Jack Reacher is completely believable in the way that Superman is believable. The world those two men exist in is tailor made for exactly the sort of people they are, so it works out. Superman wouldn’t fit in at the neighborhood softball game (Think about it – No one would volunteer to play on the opposite team), and Jack Reacher seems allergic to the routine of daily life, but luckily for these two guys, they seem to thrive in their strife filled fictional circumstances .

Personally, I think anyone who moves to Metropolis, or Gotham for that matter, is out of his mind. Can you imagine the property insurance costs for citizens of those cities?

Now I have once again decorated my space with partially read library books, Jennifer Crusie is lounging on my bureau, Katie MacAlister is reclining on my night table, Faye Kellerman is lolling on the couch and J.D. Spikes’ The Possession is lurking on my Kindle. I feel so much better.

Besides this blog entry, what are you reading?

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

Excuses

Excuses, Excuses. You Know What I’m Talking About.

Rationale, Justification, Song and Dance – All Fancy Talk for Excuses.

What’s the best excuse you have ever come up with? I don’t mean the standard – my dog ate my homework, my car broke down, I have a headache, I thought I could fly if I flapped my arms hard enough type of pretext. Although those are all time tested excuses and stand up to hard questioning.

I’m talking about an excellent and thoroughly over the top excuse, the kind which offers a lofty other worldly reason or a self serving diatribe as a rationale for improper behavior.An excuse so good, you could wear it on a T-Shirt. One you can be truly proud of in a guilty way.

Here is a list of useful and classy excuses to prime your pump:

I eat ice cream by the gallon to reduce bovine unemployment.

I paid my bill late because inflation means my money is worth more today than it was when the bill was due, so you are getting more than you had any reason to expect. You’re welcome.

I arrived late to work because I overslept. I overslept because I stayed up late watching a horror movie. I stayed up late watching a horror movie because someone has to support B Level movie producers and directors. The Academy won’t.

I didn’t invite you to my party because I hate parties and I’m sure you do too. I didn’t want to be selfish.

You, oh dauntless readers, are practically perfect in every way, but I expect you have fertile imaginations or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. If you had ever done anything wrong, what would your excuse be?

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

snowflakes

Snowflakes As Romantic Heroes

Love in a Time of Snowflakes

No two snowflakes are alike.

I think that old adage is supposed to evoke the majesty and infinite complexity of nature. Instead, I keep imagining some little guy sitting on a stool at a lab counter peering into a microscope and saying, “Nope. Not the same. Again.”

I think the emphasis on the importance of individuality is interesting though. As a society, as human beings, we all want to believe we are distinct even as we wish to not stand out that much. Most of us don’t want to our differences to separate us. We want them to make us special, intriguing, attractive.

We want differences we consider attractive, like the sapphire eyes of a mermaid, a lithe graceful body, a porcelain complexion. Most of us don’t yearn to be blessed with myopia, a port wine stain, or a body shaped like a spark plug.

This is where romance novels shine.

In a romance novel, snowflakes are not just different.

They are flawed in ways which prevent them from connecting with each other.

A snowflake heroine will be certain no one could love a girl with an asymmetrical shape. She’s pretty sure that’s why when she fell onto a city street as a child no one looked for her. A snowflake hero may have lost one of his six arms in his service in the snowflake blizzard army. He will feel it is unfair to burden a girl with a man who can only carry five bags of groceries at a time.

But overcoming these feelings of being unbearably different is what romance novels are all about. It may be true no two snowflakes are alike, but despite their unique attributes no one will confuse a snowflake with a can of tuna fish. In the end they are not that different. Any other snowflake can relate.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

typewriter

Typewriter Lovers – I Feel Your Pain

I am mystified by people who go out and buy a secondhand manual typewriter. Or even a firsthand one. Apparently it’s a thing.

For those authors who started with typewriters and can’t compose their romance novels on any other device, I bow to you. You are entitled to choose the weapon you wish in the battle to write.

But most folks who buy typewriters these days are college students. I’m guessing they think it’s charming and retro and somehow more authentic to pound out a novel on a typewriter, but I’m here to tell those folks, it isn’t. Unless you like getting your finger stuck between the I-O-L-K keys and the inevitable mess that follows. In that case don’t let me stand in your way.

But fair warning, breaking your writing session to find antibiotic cream and a bandage takes a lot of the fun out of a stroke of literary inspiration.

Then there is changing the ribbon on the typewriter.

Every typewriter worth its salt has one which requires patience followed by profanity to remove and replace. If you insert the spools just right you can manage to coat the entire machine with a thin layer of inky dust. If you are really lucky, the ribbon folds and creases in the process.

This means you have to cut off the wonky end of ribbon and rewind the remainder onto the empty spool. So fun. This is why our ancestors hid their hands in those sepia photographs we are so fond of. To cover up the ink stains on their fingers.

Worst of all are errors. I am an inaccurate typist.

This is why I posed a challenge to the placement agency I worked for in college. You should have seen the woman’s expression when she looked at my typing scores, a combination of disbelief and pity. Luckily she was ingenious at finding me jobs anyway. She had to be. Not many companies are interested in hiring a substitute who types both slowly and inaccurately.

Under the circumstances you would think I would have developed a steady hand at correcting typographical errors. But no. My corrected text always looked far worse than it would have if I had just dipped the entire sheet of paper in plaster of Paris and then crumpled it before typing the text on it.

This is why I think we should have a national holiday in honor of not having to use a typewriter anymore.

We could call it Only If You Want To Use One (But Who Would) Day. We could have a parade of people holding up bandaged inky fingers, marching to the beat of hundreds of those irritating little bells which served no useful purpose on typewriters I can think of except to make the typist sound incredibly busy.

I would attend.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

learning

Learning the Seductive Language of SEO

Making a living learning. How cool is that idea?

Years ago, in a former life, I read On Studying Singing by Sergius Kagen. At first, I found the book painful. I was new to singing but I knew I wanted to sing for a living and Kagen’s voice was disconcerting and frankly discouraging. It’s a sort of culling the herd book – if you don’t have certain inborn aptitudes (good pitch, good ear, etc.), he says, all the practicing in the world won’t help. You are wasting time and energy aiming for being a professional and should concentrate on learning to be a good amateur.

I did, in the end, earn my living as a singer and over those years I became more comfortable with Kagen’s perspective. He wasn’t being mean. He was telling his truth as he saw it and he also had great respect for amateurs. And, of course, even those inborn aptitudes need to be honed and constantly sharpened.

But what I retained from On Studying Singing was an understanding of the many hidden attributes required to succeed at any full-time occupation. And of the amount of learning one must be willing to undertake.

Writing well is not the same as making a living at it.

To do that requires learning a little bit of HTML and a lot about platform creation. I’m even learning about how to seduce web-crawlers. “Right this way, baby…”

I wonder if web-crawlers arrive any faster if you wear a slinky evening gown and drape yourself over a piano while whispering sweet nothings in a sultry voice.

Next will be marketing both in person and online. Not to mention querying agents about Waiting For You.

I remember every day, the way I felt when I began my first career – driven, frustrated, exasperated, and fascinated in turns. And through it all, a constant thrum of excitement. I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.