Relationship Security

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Why are you like that?” Or maybe you’ve asked yourself that question about others. There are reasons for our behaviour. Some of them we don’t understand; some we are not even aware of, and never will be.

In her book, Relationship Security, author Kathleen Price shows us that, along with some other factors, our experiences, even those we have as young children, shape us into the adults we become. They influence our responses to nearly every situation we deal with as we go through life.

Most of us seek a loving, caring relationship in which there is mutual trust. As young adults, we are optimistic about finding the right person who will fulfill that expectation. If we haven’t witnessed an example of a secure bond in our parents’ relationship, marriage may bring disillusionment when we perpetually need to protect ourselves because we don’t feel secure. At the same time, we may discover that we are blaming our partner for faults we don’t want to see in ourselves.

Using her own experiences Ms. Price analyzes how events in her life have affected her relationships. She uses an engaging method of bringing the reader in, alternating the narratives of parts of her life with passages from psychologists and other professionals.

Each chapter features an “insight” section containing the reliable concepts and theories, which she applies not only to her past, but her present challenges. With this understanding, she is better able to let down her defenses and embrace her relationships more fully in a calm, trusting, and optimistic way.

In reading Ms. Price’s book, we can see why some of her early experiences have caused her to react in certain ways as she encounters situations in her adult life. We may be able to identify with many of the conclusions of professionals, and possibly find them helpful in our own daily living.

          In Relationship Security Kathleen Price records her experience growing up in a family in which two committed parents were not able to establish a trusting relationship. The same problem repeats itself in her first marriage as she and her husband grapple with the challenges of parenthood without a secure bond. A divorce and remarriage follow, but this time she and her new husband, who is also disillusioned by a first marriage, are determined not to make the same mistakes again. Both acknowledge they shared the responsibility for the failure of their first marriages, but they don’t yet understand how or why.

          Her book reveals a progression of awareness as the author strives for security and nurturing, not only with her spouse, but her children, siblings, in-laws, and close friends. Each chapter features an “insight” section containing the reliable concepts and theories, which she applies not only to her past, but her present challenges. With this understanding, she is better able to let down her defenses and embrace her relationships more fully in a calm, trusting, and optimistic way.

I was deeply moved by Ms. Price’s autobiographical writings. Her story is bravely told. She faces her shortcomings honestly with a view to discovering why she has made some of the decisions that have shaped her life. Relationship Security is very readable and will give you a lot to think about after you close the book.

You can find this great book at amazon.com

Kathleen Price

Kathleen Price began her professional career as a family life educator and marriage and family therapist. Since her retirement she has published two books, both based on her personal experience. She lives with her husband in Las Cruces, New Mexico and can be reached via her website: www.kathleenprice.org.

Redundancies

Did you know that redundant comes from the Latin verb “redundare,” to overflow? Sometimes we use superfluous words without realizing it. Some writers do it on purpose, mistakenly thinking that more words will make a good impression. Instead, wordiness can be a boring turn off.

Words beginning with the prefix “re,” which means “again,” or “back,” can be particularly troublesome. If you see the prefix, “re,” in a word, chances are that it means to do something again.

Restart – start again

Remake – make again

Redo – do again

Revert – go back

(You get the picture.)

When “re” does the job of “again,” it is redundant (superfluous) to repeat “again.”

Be careful not to use this needless repetition.

“He restarted the car again.”

“Let’s return back home again.”

“She reverted back to her childhood.”

“The teacher insisted I redo the homework again.”

Again” and “back” are redundant.

*****

Here are some more cases of redundant word usage. You can remove the words marked in red and not lose the meaning.

He is a man who says what he believes.

There is no doubt but that he will be late.

She spoke in a rough manner (roughly).

As to whether he will be there, I don’t know.

The fact that … (Completely unnecessary)

Owing to the fact that … (Replace with “since”)

In spite of the fact that … (Replace with “although”)

Politicians like to use repeated (redundant) words for emphasis.

Here is a man who is honourable.

Here is a man who is hard working.

Here is a man who is reliable.

And here is a man who is trustworthy.

This could all be said in one sentence.

This man is honourable, hard working, reliable, and trustworthy.

Unless you are trying for emphasis, it is best to stay away from redundant words and phrases. Even so, there are better ways to make an emphatic point.

Overused Words and Expressions

We all have words and phrases that we tend to overuse. In our writing, we need to watch for repeated words. If possible, avoid using the same word twice in one sentence and check for repetition within a paragraph.

Often they are words we overuse in our speech as well. Some of mine were “maybe,” “just,” and “so.” But more than being annoying to the reader, what starts out to be only a bad habit can damage our writing in more serious ways. By using our favourite expressions, we add a chattiness to our writing that may or may not be called for. It also prevents us from searching for a more specific, suitable word.

If you know what some of your pet repeated words are, you could use Find in your Word program and it will take you to each instance of the repeated word. You then have the option to change it to something more interesting or to delete it. You’ll be shocked at the repetitions you’ll find.

Another method that is surprisingly simple but works well is to read your work out loud. You’ll be amazed at what you notice. You’ll make corrections automatically because what you wrote doesn’t “sound right” when read aloud.

Why not give it a try and read a page of your writing out loud?

You may find that some of your repeated words and expressions are clustered in a small section of your work. Almost in the same way that we get a song on the brain, so we have a word or expression that comes out in our writing almost without our bidding. Perhaps by the time you write another page, you have had a break, or a night’s sleep, and that word is no longer “on your brain,” so it won’t reappear until later on, if at all.

Many of the repeated or overused words are not even necessary to the writing. Try it out and see if you really need that pet word.

Some commonly overused words:

then, now, maybe, even, anyway, so, like, pretty, very, really, little, kind of, bit of, big, you know, would, nice, said, finally, at last.

There are many more, but we each have our own special expressions. We need to become aware of what they are. Then we must ask ourselves, “Is this exactly what I want to say, or is it filler?”

Warning Signs: A Story about Obsession

Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder, handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.

Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them as they each struggled with various dilemmas. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived, because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.

Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!

The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she suspects that Eugene may be the killer?

What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?

I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.

After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.

Carol Balawyder

Visit Carol Balawyder’s page on amazon to see all of her novels.

Long Sentences

Do you know what is both the shortest and the longest sentence in the world? Some say it is  — “I do.”

But this post is not about marriage counseling; it is about sentence length.

I know that when I’m reading, I don’t like overly long sentences. I was traveling in Germany many years ago and needed a new book to read. The local bookstore had no books in English, but I was desperate. I picked up one of the few German titles that looked familiar to me and decided to try reading it (in German) as a challenge. It was Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. I had learned German as a child and I looked on this book as a way to improve my command of the German language.

I was able to read and understand the words, but two things made my job extremely difficult. First, many of the sentences were very long. Second, the verb was usually at the end, as it often is in German. These two challenges nearly finished me. Luckily it was a good book and I wanted to know what would happen next. That helped me through it.

I came to the conclusion that I do not like to read long sentences. If I don’t like reading long sentences, why would I write them and inflict them on others?

Readers lose interest if they have to struggle to get the point of the sentence. Who wants to work that hard?  It takes the pleasure out of reading.

So! As a writer, I am offering some tips about writing sentences.

  • Vary the length of sentences.
  • Vary the type of sentences. (Don’t use the same structure for each one – Noun, verb, object. Noun, verb, object. Boring!)
  • Use short sentences for emphasis. Occasionally, it might even be just a fragment (not a complete sentence).
  • Use short emphatic sentences sparingly or you will lose the effect.

Generally, shorter is better. As a rule of thumb, more than 17 words is too long. Don’t think of that as a hard and fast rule, but rather as a guideline. Many writers string ideas together with connecting words such as but, and, while, since, which, so, and then. Often, these sentences would be much more effective if the connectors were taken out. The long boring sentence can then be reshaped into two good ones.

After you write a paragraph, check it for strong vocabulary and strong verbs. Add modifiers where warranted. If your writing is about a character, think about how he feels and add details to support this. Use rich language without being pretentious or unnatural.

Change it up. Mix it up. Pace yourself. Keep it interesting.

Apostrophes – Commas in the Air

Common mistakes I see when copy-editing

Apostrophes

Many people confuse the purpose of apostrophes in their writing. So when should you use an apostrophe? 

Apostrophes have two separate uses. One is for showing ownership, as in the cat’s whiskers. The other is to show that one or more letters have been taken out (contractions).

Often, I see apostrophes in words that are meant to be plural, but not possessive.

e.g. The photo’s look great.

It should say: The photos look great.

Sometimes, people use apostrophes with pronouns.

e.g.  her’s, it’s, our’s, their’s, who’s, your’s — these are all WRONG if you’re trying to show ownership. They should be written: hers, its, ours, theirs, whose, yours.

Some of the words can be confusing.

e.g. Let’s means let us, but if you meant to say that someone allows you do do something, it should be, “She lets me go to the movies.”  

Who’s means who is, but if you meant to ask who owns something, you would say, “Whose dog it that?”

And the most troublesome of all … it’s or its.

It’s means it is, but if you are attaching ownership, you would say, “The dog should pay attention to its master.”

There was a time when the general rule was to use apostrophes to show possession for people and animals (the dog’s fur, the lady’s hat), but to use “of” for inanimate things (the hood of the jacket, the eye of the needle), but this is now being disregarded in many cases. It seems to me that it’s perfectly acceptable to refer to “the car’s windshield” or “the book’s cover.”

One of the most common errors I see is the use of an apostrophe  with decades.

e.g. The  Beetles were popular in the 1960s. There should be NO apostrophe.

But if you shorten the decades to refer to the ’60s. This apostrophe is correct because it shows that something has been left out — in this case,  the 19. Be sure that the apostrophe is turned to face the same direction as a comma (not as at the beginning of a quotation).

Placement: The apostrophe comes after the word that has the ownership. If it is a singular noun, then you would put the apostrophe after that noun. If it is a plural noun, then put the apostrophe after the end of that word.

e.g. This is the dog’s collar.

These are the two dogs’ collars.

The use of apostrophes is more complex than one page  can do justice to, but consider this a beginner’s list of basic helpful hints.

Grammar Manners – Say it Right

Writers, do you struggle with grammar? Here is one way of helping yourself sort out how to “say it right.” But first, look at these sweet little dogs.

Exemplary Behavior – by Horatio Henry Couldery (1832-1893)

Having and using good manners will always be important to me. Although I don’t feed my dogs at the table, I couldn’t help admiring the good manners displayed by the dogs in this painting.

DSCN9420

My old “Good Manners for All Occasions” says it’s polite for the man to open the door for the lady, and for that matter, for any younger person to open it for the older one. This custom is considered to be polite, but in the penguin world, letting someone else go first is based on survival.

penguins

Penguins stand in a line at the edge of the ice, ready to go for a dip in the ocean for a bit of fishing. Who will test the waters first? The crowd gathers at the water’s edge jostling each other until finally, one of them falls in. If he isn’t attacked by a lurking leopard seal in the next few moments, the rest of the penguins dive in.

But surely, we humans have evolved from these primitive, yet effective, tactics. We now consider it polite to allow others to go first. We offer others the first choice from the food platter, even though it occasionally backfires on us.

This was the case when at dinner, Joe passed the meat platter to his brother Bob first before helping himself. When Joe complained because Bob took the biggest piece, Bob asked, “What would you have done?”

Joe sniffed. “I would have taken the smaller piece, of course.”

“Well, you have it,” Bob said. “So what’s the problem?”

*****

In spite of these odd cases, modern society generally agrees that we should let others go first. And so it is with grammar.

We name the other person(s) first and then ourselves. If it is that simple, why is it still such a problem in our writing?

Following are some tips and guidelines.

When naming others first, we would not begin a sentence with: Me and Joe, Me and him, Me and her, I and Joe.

Okay, we know we should name Joe first, but even so, is it Him and me, Joe and me, or Joe and I?

Let’s look at some sample sentences where you and Joe are the subjects of the verb. Here are the possibilities:

Joe and me / Joe and I / Him and me / Him and I / He and me / He and I / drove to town.

 

When in doubt, leave Joe out. Without Joe in the car, you are in the driver’s seat and of course you would say “I drove to town” not “Me drove to town.” When you take on that extra passenger, if you need to get the feel of whether it’s Joe or him or he, try leaving yourself out. “Joe drove to town” or “Him drove to town” or “He drove to town”?

“Him drove to town” simply does not work, so you can use either “Joe” or He.”

*****

I’m still shocked when I see sentences like “Me and him went to the party.” You would never say “Me went to the party” or “Him went to the party,” so why would you say “Me and him” or even “Him and me” (went to the party)?

And now we come to the other situation where you and Joe are the objects of the verb. Which is correct?

The sun shone on:

me and Joe

Joe and me

Joe and I

him and me

him and I

he and I

First rule is to mention others first so that narrows it down to Joe/him/he and me/I. Second, leave out me/I and we have “The sun shone on Joe (or him).” Then leave out Joe and we have “The sun shone on me” (you wouldn’t say “I”). So together we have “The sun shone on Joe/him and me.” Better yet, say “The sun shone on us.”

Now may the sun shine on your grammar and mine.

When you have finished writing your book, why not check out my webpage for copy-editing and other goodies?

anneli-purchase.com

 

 

The Crossroads Trilogy

Three Great Books

We all love to read a book that is so good we can’t put it down. Imagine finding three of them! You’ll get that in the Crossroads Series written by Jacqui Murray. Her books caught me by surprise. I read “Survival of the Fittest” not realizing at the time that it was the first of three in The Crossroads Series.

Well, I LOVED the book.

It was a story that could have been true, but of course it was fiction. The setting is  Africa, 850,000 years ago. Yes, you read that right. It was a long, long time ago when mankind was in the early stages of development. People, like animals, had to live by their wits and be very strong, smart, and lucky, or die.  Only the fittest survived the ordeals these people went through in their everyday life: hunting and gathering food, traveling in rough terrain, being attacked by “Others,” and surviving natural disasters.

Though the life rules were different, human nature, even then, was something we can relate to today. The emotions that ran through these people of long ago were much the same as what we feel now.

Xhosa, a strong female character leads her group on a long migration in search of a place where they can be safe and have enough food and shelter to survive. Some other smaller tribes join up with hers for safety, and each brings a new dynamic to the group. Ms. Murray is skilled at making you care about her characters, and before you know it, you will be hooked.

Without saying too much more about the plot, I just want to tell you that I was sorry the book ended, but overjoyed to find that there was a Book Two, called “The Quest for Home.”

I devoured that book as well and still wanted more!

Now, at last, Ms. Murray has Book Three ready for publication. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview and I can tell you you’re in for a treat if you read these books. “Against All Odds” completes the three-book series.

In this final book, Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

 

 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

 Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

You can find out more about Jacqui Murray by clicking the links below:

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

For your entertainment, here is the book trailer for Book Three, “Against All Odds.”

No Fancy Man

She pulled over to the side of the gas station after she gassed up, and made the call. At the pumps Brent was leaning his shoulder into the side of his truck, staring off into space as he held the nozzle in the gas tank. The profile of his face was perfect—manly, but fine. His blue checkered work shirt had a tear in the elbow. Jeans were dirty and smeared with dried blood—from the deer, she presumed. She sure hoped that was what the blood was from. How was she to know? She’d only just met him. His canvas vest had lots of pockets, more practical than fashionable. Seemed like islanders tended to be that way. Kodiak boots half unlaced told her he must have walked a lot today and maybe his feet were sore. Fancy, he was not.

Marlie, a young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands has a lot to learn. The rough island life tests her survival skills both physically and socially. She finds that with the beauty of the islands come hidden and unexpected dangers.

If you like page-turner stories of love, adventure, and danger, why not download “Marlie”? It is available on all amazon outlets for Kindle and paperback, and on smashwords.com and nook.com (Barnes and Noble) for all formats of e-readers.

 

To find out more, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

A Matter of Thyme

Enjoy a Mystery and Support a Good Cause

My guest today is Douglas Logan, author of “A Matter of Thyme.”

Doug is a management consultant, facilitator, public speaker, Rotarian – and long-time author of reports and plans.

One day, having just finished writing a lengthy document on innovation, he went for a walk to clear his head. As he did, it occurred to him that not all the words he put to paper had to be so dry.

“Maybe I need to broaden my horizons,” he thought. “What if there was a mystery to be solved?” So, he sat at his keyboard to see just what kind of mystery might need solving. A Matter of Thyme was the result.

A cold, foggy night. The dead body of a well-respected principal is discovered lying frozen on the highway. He drowned and it’s obvious something untoward has happened. But after several months the police know nothing more than this, and still can’t explain how his corpse came to rest on the cold hard pavement.

Frustrated and impatient with the lack of progress, the victim’s sister asks Justin Thyme for help. Once a highly talented investigator, Thyme has been forced out of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police by the sudden onset of PTSD. Unemployed and living alone he’s learning to control his illness and carve out a new life for himself.

Thyme is at first reluctant to get involved. But encouraged by close friends, he accepts the offer and begins to untangle the mystery and learn more about his new self.

Available at:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.ca/Matter-Thyme-Douglas-Logan/dp/1999018605/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+matter+of+thyme&qid=1564678756&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-matter-of-thyme

And iBooks on your Apple device.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The Rotary Club of Halifax Harbourside On-Line will invest proceeds from sales of A MATTER OF THYME in women striving to build better lives for themselves, their families and communities.

According to the World Bank, the best investment we can make in developing countries is to support women’s labour force and business participation.

EARTH SHATTERING CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT!

Once a month for the next six months the author is giving away a free signed copy of A Matter of Thyme! 

To win your copy, all you need to do is to answer a skill testing question! People who answer correctly will have their name entered in a draw held at the end of each month.

This month’s draw will take place Saturday, August 31.

But wait! There’s more!

At the end of the sixth month, there will be a second draw from all entries received over the six months. That winner of that draw will have the right to have their name used for one of the key characters in the next Justin Thyme mystery, tentatively titled No Thyme for Crying!

What could possibly be more exciting?!

So, let’s get started!

Since the Rotarians are using proceeds from sales to invest in women in developing countries, their first skill testing question is Rotary related:

What is the name of the person responsible for starting Rotary International?

Send your answers to Thyme@bell.net

Good luck!

And don’t forget to share this with your friends! In fact, share like crazy!