Lay or Lie


Do you have trouble knowing the correct form of lay or lie to use in your writing?

Why not copy and paste this chart? Print it out either with your printer or by hand, onto a piece of paper that you can keep handy by your desk for a quick reference.

A quick version of how “lie” and “lay” are used with the pronoun “I.”

To Lie (down)

I lie (present)

I lay (preterite)

I have lain (present perfect)

I am lying (present continuous)


To Lay (to set an object down)

I lay (present)

I laid (preterite)

I have laid (present perfect)

I am laying (present continuous)


To Lie (tell an untruth)

I lie (present)

I lied (preterite)

I have lied (present perfect)

I am lying (present continuous)

For more about lay and lie, you can check out my post from a year ago:

Good work! Now have a cookie.

cinnamon stars



The Longest Nine Months

I first shied away from reading this book because I thought it was going to be all about having babies, not my favourite topic. Luckily for me, I did pick up the book, read it, and enjoyed it. It was not all about babies and pregnancies, although this was a significant factor in the novel. It was more about the relationship between Chand and Campbell.

Chand is of East Indian heritage and Campbell is Caucasian. They are devoted to each other; so much so, that Campbell wears the traditional sari to please her husband, even when other modern East Indian women at their office party are wearing western dress.

No children are planned in their as yet young marriage, so when Campbell finds herself pregnant, major changes loom. Chand is not as thrilled as Campbell had hoped he would be, and the final straw, a possibly flawed baby, threatens to destroy this happy marriage.

I was drawn into the story by Ms Balawyder’s skillful development of her characters. I cared about them. I felt their joys and frustrations,  and empathized with their problems.

Don’t miss reading this heartwarming novel by Carol Balawyder. You can find it here: Just click amazon.

You will also find that Ms. Balawyder has written several other very entertaining books. Although they are inter-connected, they can easily be read as stand-alones. I know you’ll enjoy them all.

Carol Balawyder


Seduction of Santa

I’m pleased to host Emma Calin today. One of my favourite authors, Emma has written another hot police romance for us.

If you like a good story and a bit of hot spice added into the mix, you’ll love this book.

seduction of santa small


For Paula Middleton the season of love is not just Christmas. As a cop on the hard streets of south London she knows the value of mercy. As a woman alone she fills her life with love for others in her community. When her kindness conflicts with the ruthlessness of the law, the heartless system of police discipline moves against her.  Crossing swords with the tough and dominating Max Muswell could be the end of her career or the chance of mind-blowing passion to last a lifetime.

As Christmas lights transform the West End of London into a glittering paradise for those with money, Paula uncovers a scandal of poverty and exploitation controlled by gangsters. In pursuit of justice and the spirit of goodwill to all men, she goes beyond her authority to close in on the crooks. As she falls in love she goes beyond her ability to control herself.

The consummation of her passion fixes the dangerous Max in her heart. Once again she acts with the spontaneity of love and is left crushed and alone. The fearless man she adores sets his face against her enemies and breaks all the laws except the law of Justice.

As Christmas closes in, police authorities react to the plight of the destitute victims of organized criminals and Paula rejoins the fight. With Santa Max once again at her side can they bring Christmas to those with nothing? Can love for all men also become the love of one man for one woman? Can the sparkle of snow find an echo in the sparkle of a diamond to last for every season?

Normal price Kindle: $2.99/£2.50 – Intro launch price 99c/99p.

Paperback: $7.99/£6.99

Universal Buy Link on Amazon :

xmas cracker twitter

‘SEDUCTION OF SANTA’ is the sixth title in Emma Calin’s ‘SEDUCTION SERIES’ of steamy suspense romance stories.

Each ‘SEDUCTION’ book is a stand-alone crime-solving adventure, with a love story woven through the core and a guaranteed happy-ever-after ending. The heroines are sassy British female police officers – as passionate about catching crooks as they are about the men in their lives.  Read them in any order – there are no cliffhangers between books.  Characters make cameo appearances across the series but pre-knowledge of their stories is not necessary. Emma Calin’s police stories are inspired by the real-life experiences of her partner, an ex-London police officer and Interpol detective – with Emma’s own romantic twist!

Other titles include:

Seduction of Combat

Seduction of Dynasty

Seduction of Taste

Seduction of Crowns

Seduction of Dynasty Plus (2-book bargain bundle)

Seduction Series Box Set 1 (books 1-4 in series)

Emma Calin 2015

About Emma Calin

Emma Calin was born in London in 1962. She currently lives in France and the UK.

She has been writing since childhood and has won numerous local, national and international prizes for poetry and short stories, including the East Texas Writers Guild Award in 2017 and the New Apple Award for Ebook Literary Excellence in 2017.

When not writing, Emma likes to kayak or cycle on her tandem in the french countryside and play the trombone – but not at the same time.

Find Emma











I’m so thrilled to announce that Marlie is now available as an e-book and within a day or two will be available as a paperback as well.

My fifth novel takes place on the BC coast again. Must be my favourite place to be. As you follow Marlie’s new life on the remote Queen Charlotte Islands, now called Haida Gwaii, you may be surprised to meet some characters you have met before in The Wind Weeps and in Reckoning Tide.

But Marlie’s story is different from the first two in this grouping. She has several adjustments to make in her first months in the islands. Her experiences in the new home she has chosen send her emotions in all directions. She needs to dig deep to draw on her inner strength.

Unlucky in love, Marlie flees a bad relationship. She accepts a teaching job in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands. The beauty of the islands and the rugged challenge of northern living enthrall her. A good-looking artist has his eye on her. The perfect gentleman. Or is he? And what about that handsome fisherman? Is he just a bit too real for her with his hunting and fishing? Just as Marlie hopes that her life has made a turn for the better, disaster strikes. She is shocked to see her life spiraling downwards yet again. How could she have made such an error in judgement—an error that sets more bad luck in motion?

Not willing to lose control, Marlie takes a deep breath and sets out to get her life back on track. But can she do it alone?

Set in the remote islands of coastal British Columbia, Marlie is a heartfelt romance of love and loss and love again.

Experience the fears and joys of northern island living and delight in a second chance at true love.

You can put Marlie on your Kindle by clicking this link:

Paperback version is now available on amazon as well.

For those with e-readers other than Kindle you may find the version you need at

Book cover:

Painting by Jan Brown

Design by Anita B. Carroll


Writing Challenge – Flash Fiction

The photo was taken in a main intersection of a Greek city. The bus has a flat tire and the driver is nowhere to be seen. Can you put together a short piece of writing following the guidelines below? You can make the scene be somewhere other than in Greece if you like.

The Challenge – Flash Fiction:

  • Write 150 words. No more, no fewer.
  • The story should relate in some way to the photo below.
  • Use all of the following words in the story:

outfit, briefcase, recognized, barbecued chicken, wrinkles


  • December 10, 2017.
  • Send stories in the body of an email to


The Prize:

  • Authors of the five best stories will receive a free e-book of my soon-to-be-released novel, Marlie, and your stories will be posted on this blog.

Pitching Your Novel

My guest today is Angela Noel. Her experience at a writer’s conference brought back many memories for me.

Signing up

By Angela Noel

A poet friend told me about The Loft’s Pitch Conference. The idea terrified me. Pitch my book to three agents? Live? That sounded like a job interview married to a parole hearing and covered in olives (I hate olives). But, I reasoned, I’d never been to a writer’s conference. It was in my hometown. The Loft in Minneapolis is an incredibly supportive haven for writers and ideas, and not likely to host another conference for at least another year. And, I had a second novel languishing at 30,000 words that needed a swift kick in the pants. I decided to sign up.

The months between signing up and showing up were filled with drafts. I finished that second novel, but it needed so much work, it wouldn’t be ready in time. My first novel was much closer to perfect. So, I polished it with the help of my writing group, and wrote draft after draft of my short pitch (the verbal equivalent to a marketing letter). It needed to roll off my tongue. It had to be perfect. I practiced with everyone who would stand still for four minutes and listen to me. I pitched my aunt and my mother over the phone. I pitched my golden retriever, who thumped his tail in appreciation. I pitched myself in my bathroom mirror. In short, I did all I could to prepare.

The day of the conference dawned. I picked out my clothes carefully and promised myself that in just ten short hours I’d either have a yes or a no. My first pitch to one of the three agents was mid-morning on the first day. If an agent liked my pitch, she’d request my work. That’s a foot in the door, not a shoulder or an armpit, just a tiny toe-hold, but a toe-hold nonetheless.

I had only dread in my belly. Too many new people, no friendly faces, sweaty palms, and rejection—I imagined the soup of terrible awaiting me. But, I got in the car anyway. I drove to the conference, parked my car, checked that I hadn’t accidentally put my dress on inside out (it happens), and tried to pour mental molasses on the butterflies to slow their fluttering. Then, I trotted across the busy street and opened the gorgeous wood and glass doors of The Loft Literary Center.

That’s when it hit me: I could do this.

The first person I saw, a woman in a scarf so large and intricate I wanted to hang it as a tapestry on a wall in my home, looked up at me wide-eyed.

“Hello! I’m Angela,” I said, probably too loudly. “This is my first conference. How about you?”

She looked down at the floor, but shook my proffered hand. She told me her name and that she was new here too. She pointed me towards the stairs. “I think you have to register,” she said. “I’ll see you up there.”

The queue of eager registrants spilled down the wood and iron spiral staircase on the second floor. Once at the top, I found my name badge, got my program, smiled like a lunatic, and made my way to the coffee and mini-muffins. I saw many awkward fellow writers looking timid and alone.

“Coffee!” I said, setting my bag down to grab a paper cup. “Thank heavens for this! Unless I spill it on myself, in which case: curse you, coffee!” I don’t even know to whom I aimed my words. But hearing my own voice in the air comforted me. Smiling at the man who looked like a science fiction writer (and was) gave me courage.

Within minutes, I knew that in the land of introverts, a smiling ambivert is the circus come to town. As an ambivert—a quixotic creature sometimes filled with the extrovert’s love of people and company, and at other times the introvert’s craving for silence and peace—I had both an opportunity and an obligation.

I believe there is greatness in all of us and I’m grateful to see it in others. If I could just pick my head up, forget that I, too, am nervous and fretting that my preparation or worse, my novel, might not be good enough, I’d see how others suffered. They had all my fears but seemingly less of my willingness to shatter uncomfortable silence with words, smiles, and handshakes. My natural curiosity, and sincere love of fellow humans took over. Before the first hour had elapsed, my nervousness had been replaced by joy.

These people, these wonders, had put their work forward just as I had. They wanted to learn, to grow, to see their writing blossom in view of a wider audience. I could do something about that. I could connect people. I could meet one person and include them in a group. I could ask questions, share ideas, and demonstrate my interest in their work. With these small acts the nervous turtle in all of us relaxed. We came out of our shells. Desperate to relieve my own fears, I stumbled upon a gift I had to give to others.

Years ago, I realized the cost to me of being the first to love, the first to stretch out a hand to connect, was infinitesimal. Many times, I’m the instigator of new relationships. I can’t help myself. People are wonderful. And, though I don’t like rejection, I don’t often fear it. But, I’d let fear get to me prior to the conference. Yet something about walking through those doors and seeing all the other writers, my kin, made my fear disappear.

We journey together, all of us humans. For some of us we walk in tandem for the duration. For others of us, we are but temporary companions on the Appalachian Trail of life. Either way, initiating conversations costs me next to nothing. But the payoffs in learning, in awe, in wonder at the capabilities and pursuits of another human are infinite. I had forgotten this truth in the days leading up to the conference. I had focused too much on myself: my fears, my work. The moment I remembered I wasn’t alone, that I could forge connections and offer others a lifeline, everything changed.

I loved the conference. I loved when a woman I had just met asked me to hold her hand while an agent read her query letter aloud to an audience of people and applauded her work. When all three agents I’d pitched my novel to requested my manuscript, I knew my success was not mine, but ours. Each of the writers who’d let me into their world, who had talked to me about writing, creativity, passion, and purpose had gifted me with confidence. When I met with the publishing professionals I had an army of love behind me. It was the purest and best kind of love—the kind we give away for free without thought of return. I loved those writers and didn’t need them to love me back. I didn’t even wonder if they did. Giving love, standing in awe of creativity and accomplishment, is its own fuel; it feeds on itself. The more of it we give away; the more we have to give.

Though I believe I offered comfort to some of the quiet and withdrawn among the constellation of would-be authors at the conference, ultimately it was they who comforted me.  By giving all I had to give, I got everything I needed in return and more.

So: Go. Be. Do. Invest in whatever it is that scares you. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by signing up. If I can, you can too.


If you’re interested in attending an excellent, small, and well-run conference to pitch your novel, meet industry professionals and network with other writers, sign up for the 2018 Pitch Conference at The Loft Literary Center. Registration begins November 14, 2017.



Angela Noel lives and writes in Minneapolis. In between fiction projects, she posts inspiring stories about interesting ideas and compelling people on the You are Awesome blog. She enjoys yoga and loves books, humans, wine, and chocolate (but not necessarily in that order).  Connect with her on Twitter at or Facebook or subscribe to her blog for a new post each week.






Whispers Under the Baobab

One of my favourite writers, Darlene Jones (yes, she’s the one on the camel) has just completed another book, “Whispers Under the Baobab.” It is a stand-alone sequel to her previous publication, “When the Sun was Mine.”  In this sequel,  the setting goes back and forth in time.  We are taken from the U.S. to Africa and back, to events that happened earlier in the life of award-winning journalist, Flo McAllister. When she died, Flo left a mystery behind. The story evolves as we try to decode her secret notes.

I’d like to share the author’s thoughts with you here. Welcome Darlene. What can you tell us about your new book, “Whispers Under the Baobab”?

Darlene Jones

It’s always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, but I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax with, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: