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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Humorous Punctuation Errors

 Today, September 24, is National Punctuation Day. The nuns in my Catholic schools beat us over the heads with punctuation rules, and grammar and spelling, too. Much of it stuck. Because we text and email now doesn’t mean we can throw good punctuation out the window with the typewriter.

Despite the nuns’ training, I don’t always get punctuation right, but I try. I’m sorry to say some authors don’t try too hard. I’ve read many books lately, both indie and from major publishers, with glaring punctuation errors, mostly comma errors. One thing that really bothers me is when there isn’t a comma before a person’s proper name: as in, “Hi Mary.” Correct punctuation is “Hi, Mary.” I’ve been seeing this a lot.

Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. I scoured the internet for examples of how punctuation can change meanings. Here are some humorous ones.

This first one is correct:

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours?

This is what happens to the same statement when it’s not punctuated correctly:

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

More examples:
 Woman without her man is nothing.
Woman, without her, man is nothing.

Let’s eat Grandpa.
Let’s eat, Grandpa.

All those out there who like to cook and eat my wife made a new blog.
All those out there who like to cook and eat, my wife made a new blog.

Can you figure out where the commas go in this one?
Attention: Toilet only for disabled elderly pregnant children.

This magazine cover with Rachel Ray says it all.

Or this one:

Hunters please use caution when hunting pedestrians using walk trails.

See how a comma can change these two below?
Most of the time, travelers worry about their luggage.
Most of the time travelers worry about their luggage.

Are there any punctuation errors that bother you? I’d love to hear them.

New Releases, now available for pre-order on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo.
I’ve got a new series, Gambling on Love, and all three stories are available for pre-order, release date for all, October 15. I’ve tried very hard to avoid punctuation errors. Don’t be too hard on me if you find some.

Wedded in Vegas:
A reluctant bride
A hot Hollywood actor
What happens in Vegas…

Bartending in Las Vegas is the means to an end for Analisa Barbero. As soon as she finishes school she can get her dream job as a teacher. With her hard-working single mom temporarily disabled, money is tight and the hours are long. Who has time for dating? But when a sexy nerd asks her out, Analisa does what everyone else in Las Vegas does: she takes a chance and says yes.
Some people come to Sin City to gamble. Some come to start over. And some come to hide out. Cole Lassiter is Hollywood’s hottest property. Fed up with phoniness and paparazzi parasites, he just wants to be an ordinary nobody for a while. But when his deception causes a pretty bartender to lose her job, he makes her the kind of offer that can only happen in the city of make-believe: Marry him for one year in exchange for a house, money, and all-expenses-paid tuition for school. If she agrees, maybe the tabloids will finally give him a break.
Neither Analisa nor Cole thought love was in the cards for them. But what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Is Analisa willing to gamble her future on a man who already deceived her once? Everyone in Las Vegas knows one thing: You have to roll the dice if you want to hit the jackpot. And love is worth the risk.

Love by Chance:
 An accident-prone woman
A hotshot radio star
What happens in Vegas…

In Sin City, a couple unlucky in love gamble on each other. Win or lose?
Holidays have never brought Las Vegas hotel concierge Laney Sikora anything but bad luck in the romance department. The worst was her fiancé dumping her on Valentine’s Day. Via text. She’s determined to spend New Year's Eve alone with no romantic entanglements. But when her hunky new neighbor locks himself out of his apartment, she can’t leave him standing in the hallway. What's a girl to do?
Las Vegas is just a pit stop for Chicago native and radio personality Chance Carlisle while he waits for his agent to land him something bigger in L.A. But in the meantime, he keeps bumping into—literally—his adorable, but accident-prone, neighbor. Their private New Year’s Eve celebration leads to a plan: they’ll become the Bad Luck Partners, dating only on holidays and special events, avoiding holiday heartbreaks and matchmaking mamas.
But Fate might have something else in mind for the klutzy cutie and the hotshot talk show host. Can their temporary partnership become a forever deal?

A Very Vegas Christmas:
An overworked event planner
A man with a secret
What happens in Vegas…

A Las Vegas event planner in need of luck meets a mysterious guy who might be her winning ticket. Will his secret split them apart?

Can things get any worse for Las Vegas event planner Amanda Moreau? Her boyfriend dumped her for a stripper; she’s arranging a Christmas wedding for a Bridezilla; and her mother is playing matchmaker from 2000 miles away. When she meets hunky and ever-so-sweet Erik, who’s in town for a conference, she begins to hope her luck is changing. But Erik has a secret that threatens to split them apart.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Serendipity and Guardian Angels with Author @LiviaQuinn #RB4U #Romance

Two weeks ago I was trudging up a flight of steep steps in Penzance, United Kingdom, dragging my thirty pound suitcase and my IT FELT LIKE fifty pound backpack. My friend and I got to the front door of the B&B finally breathing a sigh of relief. We were four hours early but we'd sent an email to the host advising her of that so we planned on dropping our bags and getting right to the sightseeing since we only had two nights in Cornwall and wanted to make the best of it.

Well, best laid plans and all that…the door was locked and the sign read "our for the day". WHAT?!!! Once again, we realized how hampered we were not to have internet, phone or GPS in the UK. I was kicking myself for the fourth time when a woman started up the adjoining steps toward the adjacent B&B.

My friend asked if she happened to know our host or how we might contact her. Aneliese was from Australia and was so delightful. She offered to let us park our bags in her room next door, leave a message for our host, and then proceeded to give us the lowdown on how to get around in Cornwall on the bus system. She save our patooties as we'd been unable to get good information about the buses in Penzance. On her advice we took a bus that took us all around the coastline of Cornwall from Penzance to Lands End to St. Ives.

This happened again and again, when we were lost, needed a little direction or flat out needed rescuing. It's the same everywhere. Whether you're traveling or at home. Downtown in your local community or on the internet, I find people are always willing to lend a helping hand.

I've experienced this so much in the last months since I've had vision problems and was struggling to get my books ready to meet a deadline. People stepped up to help edit, fit me in for covers and give advice on promo and strategy. 

It feels good to look ahead and see a full four months of books releases. Ridge, the first book in my rebranded Men of Honor series just went live and the sixth book in my paranormal series, Blood Moon, is up for preorder in the Moonlight Magic box set for just $0.99 for a limited time with nineteen other fabulous authors. 

Now, our friends in my neighboring states are hurting because of the hurricanes. I invite you to be a part of the recovery efforts which take a very long time. Thanks.

Friday, September 22, 2017

She was on a journey to reclaim her soul

Sequel to Dangerous Addiction
When Fallon Crowe discovered her submissive side, she indulged it fully, reveling in her erotic nature—until she stepped into the brutally possessive world of Brian Willoughby. More than a year after she was literally dragged away from his abusive clutches, Fallon is finally building a new life with Cord Jamieson, a Dom who reminds her that punishment can be loving, pain an aphrodisiac.
But when Fallon unexpectedly runs into Brian, he reawakens an addiction that never quite died. Now she’s torn between the caring relationship she’s established with Cord, and Brian’s darkly mesmerizing lifestyle that goes beyond safe, sane and consensual.
The choice is Fallon’s—the wrong one might destroy her completely.
 God, just his name made her stomach clench and a feeling of nausea roll through her. Even after all this time, she still felt as if she had to scrub every part of her body inside and out to rid herself of the vestiges of his control. How sick was that?
She was so preoccupied with her thoughts when she gave her car to the valet parking attendant, she didn’t look where she was going…
Until she bumped into someone and a hand closed over her arm.
“Well.” His mouth curved in that seductive smile that hid so much. “It’s been a very long time, Fallon. I understood you were hiding up in the Hill Country.”
She looked up to see him standing beside her, as if conjured by her very thoughts.
Brian Willoughby was tall; taller than Cord. So tall that when he stood next to her, he almost blocked the sun. And broad, every bit of him hard, solid muscle. His razor-cut blond hair still fell in precise lines to just above his collar and his deep blue eyes were still as chilly and penetrating. Power radiated from him, a power tinged with evil that unfortunately still had the ability to hypnotize Fallon in an instant.
At once her mind and body reacted, and she tried to push away the programmed response. Disaster and destruction were standing right in front of her if she didn’t get a grip. She knew exactly how junkies and alcoholics felt while trying to dry out. Nothing satisfied the sick hunger. Yet even knowing that, and with Claire’s conversation fresh in her mind, her body reacted automatically.
Think of Cord.
Fallon forced herself to breathe evenly. Heat burned her skin where his fingers rested on her arm. His touch was light but it might as well have been steel talons. She wanted to jerk away but the message didn’t seem to filter down from her brain.
“You heard wrong.” From somewhere she managed a hint of defiance in her tone. “I’m not hiding at all.”
“Oh?” He lifted one eyebrow in a too-familiar gesture. “I’ve missed seeing you.”
His fingers stroked her arm where they held her.
She wet her lips. “I was just—reordering my priorities.”
His eyes raked over her. “I’ve missed you.” He took a step closer, shrinking the space between them. “You’ve missed me too. I know you have.” He bent his head so his mouth was at her ear. “You’ve missed me fucking you when you were bound so intricately you couldn’t move a muscle, and I could plow into you at will.”
His tone had that same compelling quality she couldn’t forget. She trembled at his words and the gush of fluid into her panties disgusted her. Yet at the same time, vivid images of the scene he described flashed into her mind and all the months dropped away. She found herself being lulled by him again. Falling into the same trap.
No! Cord! Think of Cord!
She extricated herself from his hold—but damn it, she missed his touch as soon as it was gone. “I have a new life. A better life. I could say it’s been nice running into you, but I’d be lying.”
He reached out and touched her cheek, his knuckles grazing the skin. The contact sizzled and another kaleidoscope of memories and sensations bombarded her.
Finding courage she didn’t know she had, she backed away two steps and glanced at her watch.
“Sorry, Brian. I really have to run.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall with Kate

Fall starts tomorrow. Seems like summer just began and already we're tumbling into the last part of the year. I love summer, but as the days get shorter and cooler, there's so much to look forward to. Halloween and Thanksgiving and pumpkin spice everything (I'll admit, I'm not tired of it yet). Apples and cinnamon and mums in glorious rich crimson and gold and orange. Also, cooler days are perfect for cuddling up on the couch with a cup of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea, my current favorite, and maybe a cookie. And my laptop. Or cooking soups and stews. Baking bread. Yesterday I baked two loaves of Amish Friendship we have about a quarter of a loaf left.

And I just learned how to renew the cinnamon scent on the cinnamon brooms I got last year, so I have a project in mind!

I'm never more grateful for working at home than on a rainy day, like today is predicted to be. My office is about thirty feet from the bedroom and my rainy day uniform might be pajamas...the characters don't mind. And reading!

Watch for the release of Fire and Ice, the latest in Wolves and Bears and Foxes, Oh My, later this week. The battle for Crossroads lies in the hands of an ice dragon who has yet to shift and doesn't know for sure she can.

I'd love to hear what you enjoy best about fall as well. I think it's my favorite season of the year!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's time to go Perfectly Crazy with Author Linda O'Connor #RB4U @LindaOConnor98 #99cents


Hi I’m Linda O’Connor! I live in Ontario, Canada in a house with a view of Lake Ontario. I love to write listening to the waves in the summer and overlooking the ice in the winter. I balance writing with my work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons. I read a wide variety of genres, but my favorite stories are romantic comedies and really anything with a happily-ever-after ending.

I started writing 4 years ago and published my debut novel, PERFECTLY HONEST, with Soul Mate Publishing. Turns out double double, chesterfield, and pop are very Canadian – who knew? I’ve had fun learning to write for an American audience and have since published a second story with Soul Mate Publishing and 4 more romantic comedies in the Perfectly Series as an indie author. The Perfectly Series are mostly about doctors, mostly set in small towns. The secondary characters from one story become the main characters of the next one. The six books in the series are stand-alone stories, but the characters pop in again to give readers a glimpse into what the characters are doing now. It’s like an insider secret – readers of the whole series can have fun with that additional layer! PERFECTLY CRAZY IN LOVE is a Perfectly novella about two of Dr. Mikaela Finn’s co-workers in her new hospital.

Linda hangs out at (net as in networking :D)
 Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Amazon Author Page   |   Newsletter

About Perfectly Crazy in Love (Perfectly Series novella)

Dr. Patty Kelt is trying to get Dr. Ken Marshall’s attention. They’ve been friends for four years, and it’s time to turn it up a notch. She wants him to see her as smart, competent, strong, and sexy. So far she’s just managed crazy.

Ken’s used to solving problems and giving advice. Crazy he could handle. But dealing with crazy in love? That’s entirely new.

Perfectly Crazy in Love…it’s not as easy as it looks.

Perfectly Crazy in Love is one of 22 hot romances in the Sultry Nights Boxed Set. Preorder now for only 99 cents. 

Release day is November 7th.

Landing pages: 
Buy links:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More puns for intelligent people!

Can't procrastinate any longer, this post needs posted. !!!! I've been working hard re-writing my very first published book, Druid's Daughter. As you know a lot of my old books have been in limbo for a while, and Druid's Daughter has always been a favorite of mine.  It's almost ready to go again, and now I'll concentrate on my post. I know you all seem to like my columns of puns, so here are some more....

1. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger.  Then it hit me.

2. A sign on the lawn at the rehab center said, 'Keep Off the Grass.'

3. The midget fortune teller who escaped from prison is a small medium at large.

4. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

5. A backward poet writes inverse.

6. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes. 

7.  When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

8. If you jumped off the bridge in  Paris, you'd be in Seine.

9. A vulture boards an airplane carrying to dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry sir, only one carrion per passenger."

10. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says "Dam!"

11. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron. The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive."

12. Did you have hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

13. Two Eskimos sitting in a canoe were chilly so they lit a fire in the craft. Not surprisingly it sank, proving once again you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

14. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends in the hope that at least one of the puns would make the laugh. No pun in ten did.

Once again, you've got to vote for your favorite.  It's always a hard choice. But I love to know what you think.  

You can find me and my books at all the usual places. My Elusive Earl debuts next month, but more about that later. For now just enjoy the puns....


Friday, September 15, 2017

Meet The Cowboy, His Countess and Her Companion by Suz deMello (#naughtyliterati #boxsets #romance)

Say hello to another fabulous, entertaining short story anthology from the Naughty Literati!

This autumn, we welcome Guest Authors Ever Coming and L.J. Garland, who have contributed wonderful stories.

Here's what my story is about:

The Cowboy, His Countess, and Her Companion

(England, 1870) The Honorable Amelia Haddon must marry, or lose the income that supports her and her "companion."  Averse to men, she is desperate until an American cowboy proves to be her unlikely rescuer. But will judgmental society drag this happy trio apart?

And here's a snippet from Chapter One--the setting is Almack's, of course :)

Leonore Wingate turned to her bosom-bow, Amelia Haddon, bending slightly so the smaller woman could hear over the music and chatter. “Can you see that chap? He’s new.”

Amelia blinked. “Really?”

“Yes, and he’s coming toward us.”

Leonore grinned. “What shall we tell this one?”  They had been inventing stories to explain their unusual closeness since they'd met at boarding school. Their most innocuous story was that she was Amelia’s hired companion, which was fairly close to the truth. They enjoyed telling others that they were engaged in the study of Sapphic poetry; in the main, their peers had no idea to what they were referring.

Amelia eyed the stranger. “Intuition tells me that this one might not be easily fobbed off. You do remember that Madame Esperanza told me that my intuitive powers are usually great.” 

Leonore withheld a sarcastic retort, but rolled her eyes.  

Amelia continued, “Perhaps we should encourage his suit.”

Shocked, Leonore lost her breath and therefore her voice for several seconds. Then she managed to say, “But—but—”

“You have not yet heard my news.”

“That letter you received from your father?”

“Yes. He threatens to cut me off should I fail to marry before my next birthday.”

“But you can’t marry! You can’t!” Heads turned at the vehemence of her tone, and she lowered her voice. “Why?”

“Of course I do not wish to marry, but what else can we do?”

Leonore pressed her lips together. “I’ll not leave you.”

Amelia touched Leonore’s hand briefly, so quickly that she was sure no one else saw. “Of course not. 
We shall maintain the fiction that you are my paid companion.”

“But what about at night? You can’t, Amelia! It would kill you!

Amelia drew a determined breath. “We all must do what we must. And I will have to bear his attentions, at least some nights.”

“You’ll lie quietly and think of crown and country? Ha! I’ll not allow it!”

“We don’t have a choice. I shall have to bear his attentions, at least on some nights. Many men keep mistresses for such...activities.”

Leonore paused, thinking. “Hm. You are right. Without your funds, we are left with only my tiny portion.” Her birth was impeccable but her fortune small, her parents having inconveniently wasted the Wingate estate before dying in a carriage accident.

She looked at Amelia. Amelia looked back. They sighed in unison.

“Good evening, ladies.” The stranger sketched a clumsy bow.

Leonore raised her brows as Amelia raised her fan. The stranger was so untutored in the social graces that he did not realize that he ought not address ladies to whom he had not yet been introduced. But...

“Your accent is not English,” Leonore said.

“No, I’m from Texas.” He smiled.

“In America?” Amelia sounded excited, and Leonore felt a spark of hope. Perhaps this foreigner would be different than other men. Perhaps he would not demand what Amelia couldn’t comfortably give.

“Yeah. From the good ol’ U.S. of A.”

Leonore winced at his speech. He seemed like a nice fellow, but...

Amelia said, “And what brings you to our shores?”

“I’ve inherited an estate that is in poor shape, and I’m here to claim it and find a wife to help me get it to where it should be,” the man explained in a rush.

Given the accent, Leonore understood perhaps half of what he said. She exchanged glances with Amelia, then said, “Umm, with all respect, sir, we have yet to be properly introduced.”

“Oh, sorry, miss. I’m Nate Fortune.”

“Of the Darlingside Fortunes?” Amelia asked, closing her fan.

If Leonore raised her brows more, she was certain they’d disappear into her hairline. She controlled herself. “You must be the new Earl Darlingside.”

“Yeah. And you?”

She and Amelia again exchanged glances. Despite the social solecism, Amelia responded. “I’m Amelia Haddon, and this is my...companion, Leonore Wingate.” She hooked her arm through Leonore’s elbow.

He eyed their linked arms and raised his brows. “Your...companion?”

“Yes,” Leonore said with emphasis. “We are quite inseparable.”

Now the stranger—Darlingside?—raised his brows. “That’s good.”

Leonore stared at him.

“Well, it would be very hard to choose between you. You are both such lovely ladies.”

“Flatterer,” Amelia said flirtatiously. She rapped his knuckles with her fan.

“Ow!” Darlingside made a show of rubbing his hand, as though he’d actually been hurt.

Amelia giggled while Leonore smiled.

He smiled back. “So the only question is, which one of you will I marry?”

If you like what you read, find it here on Amazon
or any other etailer you prefer

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Year, My Way

I spent too many years either in school, teaching, working with schools, or having school-aged children, to really consider Jan.1 the start of a new year. The new year begins with the fall semester. (Even though, technically, it's still summer in the Northern Hemisphere.) My logical brain may know better, but my inner nerd still thinks, "I need new pencils!"

So in keeping with that, I'm using my own internal clock to help get my career--and face it, my life--back on track. We've had a rough go for the last couple years in my family, and as thing slowly start to look up, I'm hoping to add my own momentum for improvement.

My husband began a new job 2 weeks ago, which means our biggest financial worry is fixed. I couldn't be more relieved and I couldn't be more proud of him. He's going to help another Michigan community restore and revitalize their downtown area. My granddaughter is in a stable situation and just started kindergarten! I couldn't be more proud of her, either. Both sons are doing well, and we're working on finding better housing solutions down the road, but for now, all is well.

So the next thing that I need to fix is, well, me. My writing career has been in a downhill spiral between life things and publishing things. But it's time to turn that trainwreck around.

So far I've: gotten a car, so I can be more independent; renewed my coworking membership so I have a place to work free of kids and dogs; committed to a 31-day writing challenge (14 days in and I'm up-to-date!) rejoined a word-count accountability group, and submitted to a new potential agent.

I'm working at getting my Ellora's Cave backlist republished, some heavily modified, and some with just a gloss coat or extra edit. You can find all of the ones I've finished here. So far, I've only got most of them up on Amazon, but after that I'll be working on other vendors.

My newest re-pub is one of the more heavily modified, and you can find it in the RB4U SUMMER NIGHTS OF DELIGHT anthology! Check out Unawakened (formerly Awakening Augusta) a historical romance. Here's my cover for the separate story.

Blurb: Regency Scotland can be a lonely place, but Augusta MacLeish has four mischievous younger siblings for company; now if she only had money to feed them! Colin Fordyce has recently inherited an earldom, along with five wards in a remote Scottish castle. When he travels up there, he discovers his predecessor was skimming their funds. He also learns the oldest Miss MacLeish is absolutely stunning. A knock to his head leaves him seeing two of the buxom beauty, just as one kiss from her tempting lips leaves him longing for more.

A night spent together forces Colin and Augusta to marry, leaving them all the opportunity in the world to explore the sexual hunger between them. Colin delights in teaching Augusta all the pleasures of the flesh, awakening the wanton lover beneath her ladylike veneer. From Scotland to London, the flames burning between them refuse to be doused, and oh, how they will set the Ton on fire.

Happy autumn, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.

Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and a bunch of spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Newsletter group:  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

TREATISE IN DEFENSE OF THE MALIGNED CLICHÉ: A Personal Opinion Regarding The Use Of Cliches

Posted by Author R. Ann Siracusa

We hear over and over again at writing conferences and from people who are editors, agents and successful authors, that there are no rules. "You have to do what is right for you." "Whatever works." But if there is one rule, it is: "Don't Use Clichés or Exclamation Points" if you want to get published. 

So let's examine the cliché, which happens to be one of my best and favorite languages.

First, what are its origins? 
Both the words cliché and stereotype are related to a French printing method introduced in the late 18th century, a process by which metal plate casts were made from woodcuts. By the 20th century the words had acquired figurative meanings -- cliché as any overly used word or phrase, and stereotype as an oversimplified image of a person, place or thing. So the word cliché didn't exist in the early 18th century.

Second, what does the word mean today?
We all know what it means, but each definition I read has a slightly different twist.

●The Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines a cliché [with or without the accent, by the way] as "A trite stereotyped expression or anything that has become commonplace through overuse."

●The Oxford English Dictionary defines a cliché as:"1) A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought, 2) A very predictable or unoriginal thing or person, and 3) A stereotype or electrotype." 

●The Writing Center says clichés "are general statements that do not add any detailed evidence or unique support to a piece of writing, whether that writing is a personal statement or an academic essay. Clichés are expressions that either have a general meaning or have lost their meaning over time. These overused phrases do not provide a specific meaning or image."
Okay, okay! We get it. ["Oh! Sorry," she apologized.]

Actually, we all use clichés in our speech at sometime or other, and most writers have to work at getting rid of them when they write, which means at least beginning writers use clichés when they write, just as they use them when they speak. That's because they are, in fact, a legitimate part of the English language. Listen to the people around you and how they talk. Listen to the television; go to the movies; even listen to your English teacher. If you want to write authentic sounding dialogue, you will probably have to use a few clichés.

Author Rivka Galchen writes that "Usually clichés are used correctly and unthinkingly. So correctly and unthinkingly that mostly we don’t hear them, especially when we say them ourselves."

We use clichés in our writing and speaking precisely because the expressions are commonplace from usage and, therefore, most people know what they mean. The listener has had the same experience or heard the manner of speech so often there is no question what the phase is intended to mean. They work! ["Oh! Sorry!" she apologized emphatically.]

Notice the operative words are "intended to mean". Most people who recognize the intent may have no idea about the original and/or real meaning, only the situation or action the words represent at this point in time. Unless you are a gardener, you may not know that nipping something in the bud actually means pinching off the bud or growth of a plant so that new growth will emerge on either side and make the plant fuller, or have more blooms.
That's right. You'd better nip in bud your sixteen-year-old daughter's infatuation with your husband's best friend before things get out of hand. [Or don't you know what "getting out of hand" means?]

First, not everyone considers the same phrases as overused and worn out. One person can feel that it is, and to others it isn't. You can't write for everyone…but you need to know your audience. One person's cliché may well be another's striking figure of speech.

Second, author Tobias Mastgrave, while not an advocate of using clichés, writes "However, we have to remember that clichés are clichés for a reason, they say something true or enduring or honest about the world we live in or the human experience."

Third, a word or phrase has to be used in speech and writing often enough to become a cliché in order to be added to the dictionary.

In addition to the fact that it's boring to read the same thing over and over, I believe that readers, writers, editors, and agents dislike clichés because they often represent laziness in the writing. It's easier to use a cliché than to give a detailed description. Easier to use than to think. Remember the reference to "original thought" in the definition?

Author Leslie Jamison writes, "I resist them because I want to grant room for nuance and complexity … It comes back to whether you think of clichés as portals or conclusions. Clichés work against us when they replace our tongues entirely, when the greeting card messages supplant our own. They work best when they link our singular experiences rather than efface them. -- when they function as dangling strings around which the rock candy of individual experience crystallizes."

Editor Patricia O'Connor observes in Woe Is I (Putnam, 1996), we can’t possibly eliminate all clichés: “It would take a roomful of Shakespeares to replace them with fresh figures of speech, and before long those would become clichés, too.”

Human beings -- and apparently the writers of dictionaries fall into this category -- are perverse animals rife with the tendency to be inconsistent [in my not-so-humble opinion]. While my handy dandy Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines a cliché as a word or expression that is overused and trite, those are precisely the requirements they use for adding certain words to the dictionary. Go figure.
I would never presume to put my opinions above the advice from the likes of Catherine Coulter, Jennifer Cruise, and the other published, and unpublished, authors you've heard speak on writing. They know -- I don't. But I do know that English is a very rich language. We have many ways to explain and describe things.

In 1947 American College Dictionary, one of first to include new words, boasted 132,000 words, one of the largest of its time. Today, it includes over three times that many and grows every year. The average person's speaking vocabulary is only 15,000 to 30,000 words; the average passive or written vocabulary can exceed 100,000 words.

We are writers, my friends. People learn from us. We learn from each other. We should be skilled enough at our craft to command the use of as many of those three hundred thousand plus English words as possible. I can assure you that every book I read by one of the authors I've heard speak at my RWA chapter or at a conference, includes at least one new word I have to look up and uses at least one cliché if not more.

As writers, it's our job to know the language; to know the words, what they mean, and how to use them – then make the choice of which ones best suit the story you are telling and the way and to whom you are telling it. Wield the words of your language with skill and assurance, and make every one of them count, even if you do choose to use clichés every now and then. 

And never, but never, trust your computer's spell check.

Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue with a Novel by

● The Last Weekend In October
● All For A Dead Man's Leg – Book 1
● All For A Fistful Of Ashes – Book 2
● Destruction Of The Great Wall – Book 3
   Release January 2018
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