Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Robyn Echols, and Aurora Redress, Book 2 of the Aurora Series is in the hotseat!


Aurora Redress is the second book in the Aurora Series by Robyn Echols. The first book, Aurora Rescue, is also available with the third, Aurora Recover, due out late in 2015.
Is Eddie Burrows dead or alive? Only a few know where he is—and when. The Aurora Series continues as Marty Clark makes a startling discovery about the mountain on which she and her dog, Hunter, landed. As she searches her cell call history and realizes what went different than planned, her disappointment turns to excitement. Can she find Eddie and help him use aurora power to return home with her? What will happen to Kezia, the runaway slave she befriends when she stumbles upon a station in the Underground Railroad?
In 2024 Colorado, Cy Riverton agrees that finding Eddie and bringing him back is a priority, even though it means he must fend off the increasing threat to his own freedom as he is pursued by “Cowboy” FBI Special Agent Lee Hardin who is investigating Eddie’s disappearance.


Cy was nowhere to be seen yet. Marty was too happy to be home to be worried about him running late. Besides, maybe with the time zone difference, it was she who was running early. All she knew was that he had come through for her the whole time she was gone. She was confident he would soon find her and take her and Hunter home.
Wait until he finds out I beat him to Dead Man’s Drop.
Delighted at the thought, Marty considered how much fun she would have teasing him about it. She resisted the impulse to call him. Making a call on this mountain was what started her adventure into the past in the first place. She wanted no more of that.
Then she remembered. She needed to send him a text to tell him she was back so he knew for sure where to come and pick her up. But, she decided to not take any chances. First she was going to get off the rocks and hike partway down the mountain before she activated her wrist screen cell again.
Marty stood up and stretched. It was time to climb off the rocks that formed the crest of the mountain. She called to Hunter to follow her.
It was only as she started to make her descent and looked back that Marty realized something was wrong. There were no cliffs on the west side of the rocks. The trees around her did not belong to the Colorado Rockies. Instead of seeing rock-strewn dirt at the base of the boulders, all she saw were ferns and more bushes.
Marty groaned with realization. She was not back on the cliffs at Dead Man’s Drop. She was no longer on Chimney Rock, but she definitely was not back in the Rockies.
What went wrong? Where am I now?
Marty’s eyes filled with tears.


Robyn Echols has been writing since she was in junior high school. By choice, she spent most of her evening hours in her "dungeon", as her mother called her downstairs bedroom, writing stories, only joining her family in front of the television upstairs when her favorite programs were playing. She has spent hours learning and teaching family history topics, and focuses on history from a genealogist's perspective of seeking out the details of everyday life in the past. Several of her family history articles have been published in genealogy magazines. She also draws on her education, including training in Environmental Hazardous Materials Technology and her professional background of being a state-level union steward for a postal union, a position which required investigative, research and technical writing skills.
Now Robyn resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite” and has fun researching and writing the books that she hopes will interest and entertain her readers. She writes Young Adult/New Adult and contemporary fiction under Robyn Echols and adult historical romance under her pen name, Zina Abbott.

LINKS for Robyn Echols:

Robyn Echols Website: www.robynechols.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1GAmWKf

Robyn Echols Books Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/robynecholsbook/


B & N Nook: http://bit.ly/1EzI4kM

Friday, March 27, 2015

Andrea Cooper and Stolen Hearts are on Penny's Tales

Stolen Hearts – Book 1

Crystal has spent her entire life training to be a thief in order to find evidence against the man who had her parents murdered. In her pursuit of justice she's had to give up her identity, her name, and any chance at love. When Crystal is forced on a blind date with the cop who is investigating her, she plays a dangerous game of hearts that could land her in a prison cell. 

Kade is in search of a new life, after losing his partner. He's taken a new job, in a new city, and met a new girl. In order to keep his fresh start, he will have to catch an elusive thief targeting one of the largest corporations in the country. Desperate to forget the failures of his past, Kade has no intention of failing.

But secrets can’t be hidden forever.

Crystal shimmied down the drainpipe with her trophies tucked inside her backpack and computer files loaded onto her USB, hung around her neck disguised as a locket. This was too easy. Not like the Warren job where the COO kept changing the menu and supervised their catering to ensure they had followed the strict rules of kashrut.

She landed on the concrete with a thump, then removed her mask. Usually she worked at night when the catering gig didn’t provide the necessary cover, but she had a date this evening.  A blind date. 

Her sister’s fiancĂ©e had called earlier that day to let them know his cousin from Texas would join them for dinner and would Crystal come along? As far as Crystal was concerned, it was the closest thing she’d come to as a real date in a long time. She’d take it. 

Thankfully, her catering appointment with Westridge canceled yesterday. While she enjoyed cooking, it was only a cover for her and her sister’s illegal activities. What she excelled at was computers, but having a career in that field, now, would be too suspicious. Her IT skills far exceeded a Level One Help Desk worker. She despised working for Westridge, the man who had her mother killed and her dad thrown into jail, but catering was the easiest way into her target’s homes without suspicion. And she refused to pose as a cleaning lady and scrub their filth.

Years ago, Dad found what he thought was a series of accounting errors. For his honesty trying to help Westridge correct the problem, he was thrown in jail to rot. Westridge and his company framed her dad for embezzlement and sharing confidential information with preferred suppliers to obtain favors. Now she and her sister were halfway toward exonerating him and exposing Westridge and his corporate crimes. To see the look on Joshua Westridge’s face when he was convicted would make all her and her sister’s sacrifices worth it. 

Thunder boomed as she weaved through alleys, stinking of rotting food and urine. She barely made it to her car before thunder rumbled. 

Crystal checked the time on the dashboard, almost seven. No time to waste. Paul and his cousin, Kade, were picking up her and her sister at seven-thirty. Her car hummed to life as she stashed her backpack behind her seat. The stolen cash, including a recently purchased blood diamond necklace, lay inside. Hopefully the money and necklace would throw off Westridge’s Sales Manager to the fact that computer information had been the real prize. And hopefully, they wouldn’t discover the truth until it was too late. For now, another piece of the puzzle to exonerate their dad and lock Westridge away lay on her chest inside her locket.
She whipped into traffic and hit the wipers as fat drops of rain slapped against the windshield. Great. Ahead, a red light flickered as taxis and cars lined up behind it. She debated taking Ninth, but decided against it. Construction was still ongoing and traffic would be worse than this. 

Maybe squeezing in a job before dinner wasn’t such a great idea.

Andrea R. Cooper’s latest release, Stolen Hearts, is a captivating story filled with romance, mystery, and suspense. I adored this story and can’t wait for the sequel to come out.
Stolen Hearts follows the story of Crystal, who is collaborating with her sister and uncles to finally get payback against the man who had killed her parents. But that means going undercover, spying, and breaking into buildings for evidence. And Crystal is great at it, but she never expected to fall for the new cop in town, Kade, who just happens to be secretly working on a case that could put her in prison for a very long time. Yep, he’s trying to work out who is behind all the break-ins.
I loved all the tricky situations Crystal found herself in, how she managed to slip undetected, whilst struggling to deal with her feelings for Kade, and during all this, keep herself sane.
The romance between Crystal and Kade is sizzling hot, and by the end, I wasn’t sure if they could make it work… I won’t spoil it, but you’ve got to read this book.

Andrea’s Bio: Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.
What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).
Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.
She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Stolen Hearts Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/6a_S4oBfMk8

Author Website: www.AndreaRCooper.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

J.J. DiBenedetto shows off his book, Dream Student - and it is FREE

Today is my two-year anniversary as an author. Two years ago today, March 20, 2013, I logged onto Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system and hit “publish” on the first four Dream Series books (DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD and DREAM FAMILY).
It’s been a great ride since then; I had no idea what to expect, and I certainly didn’t know if anyone would want to buy the books (let alone read them and enjoy them). 260 rviews, 7,500 sales and over 70,000 free downloads later, I have my answer. Somebody likes me. They really like me!
I’ve gotten to work with a lot of very talented people, including a local artist who hand-painted the original covers of the first few books, a fantastic designer who created the new covers you can see for the books now, three great Audible narrators who turned the first five books into audiobooks, and “Doctor Who” star Nicola Bryant, who narrated a short story set in the Dream Series. I never in a million years could have imagined that I’d be working with the actress who played Peri Brown – how cool is that?
I’ve also enjoyed the process of writing the books, and delving ever deeper into the lives of my heroine, Sara, and her friends and family. It all started with a question: what would drive an ordinary person who suspected a crime was being committed to investigate it themelves, rather than call in the police. My answer was: if they only saw the crime in their mind, through the eyes of the criminal, through his dreams. And Sara sprang up, fully grown, from that idea. Eight books later, she’s got a husband, five kids and a whole cast of friends (and enemies, too!).
To celebrate my anniversary, I’m giving away an ebook (or audiobook; winner’s choice) box set of my first five books – I’ll pick a winner from the comments to this post. And here’s a little more about the books themselves:

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams? 

Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.

Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.

Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…

You can find the books on Amazon. Book one, DREAM STUDENT, is free:

You can listen to samples from my audiobooks at: http://www.writingdreams.net/audio

And here’s a small excerpt (it’s from early in book two, DREAM DOCTOR):

My eyes open, and I’m out of bed in one swift motion. I have to call 911. Someone’s very sick, they might be dead, they…
It was a dream. Someone else’s dream.
Brian’s awake; he’s staring at me. My hand is still on the phone. “What – who – are you calling someone?”
I sit down on the bed. “I – I guess I have to tell you, don’t I? I had a dream.”
He knows immediately what I mean. “Who?” is all he asks.
“Dr. Morris. Well, his wife.” I haven’t had a dream since the night before our wedding, and that one was about Dr. Morris, too. Someone was dreaming about his funeral. “I assume it was his wife, she must have been. She gave him some tea, and he took one sip and - basically he dropped dead as soon as he did.” As I tell it, I realize that I have seen her before – sometime during orientation. Maybe at the reception for my class that first night? It makes sense; a lot of the faculty had their spouses there.
I can’t think about it anymore – I’m starting to get a splitting headache. Brian takes me in his arms. “Are you all right?” I don’t answer; I want – need - to just sit here and be held for a while.

I’m still awake. I closed my eyes so Brian would think I had fallen asleep, and that way he would go back to sleep himself, which he did after a few minutes. I didn’t want to keep him up all night just because I was. But now that I’m lying here and unable to get the dream out of mind, it doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
I thought about the dreams all during our honeymoon; I was worried they were going to keep coming, but they never did. I told myself the one I had must have been a fluke, something random.
Then school started, and still nothing, and it was completely out of my mind. Especially once I actually saw Dr. Morris, alive and walking around just as he should be. But now, tonight, it’s happened again. And it was about him again - twice now I've seen Dr. Morris dead. I assume that first dream was his wife as well, but what does it mean? Is she worried about him dying, or does she want him dead?
Or, even worse, is she actively planning on making him that way? 

My Amazon Author Page is at: http://viewauthor.at/JJDiBenedetto

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kayelle Allen shares her knowledge on writing Science Fiction, plus a giveaway for everybody

Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series.
Revealing the worldbuilding magic that makes Kayelle Allen's Tarthian Empire tick, the Companion shares 10k years of future history, offers peeks at scene and character creation, lays out a quick tour of the empire, and dishes up a surfeit of secrets for fans, all in one illustrated volume. Includes tips for writers, and how to create a Science Fiction series. Original art by Jamin Allen and Kayelle Allen.

Author of the Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series.

I'm not a fan of changing basic terms for the sake of making them sound alien. For example, we "inch" along, not "millimeter" along, so I apply the same principle in my books. Diamonds are diamonds. Water is water.
Language, however, is malleable. Considering how far in the future my own stories are, there would be few (if any) words in English that we'd recognize. Being the practical sort, I kept many current terms.
What better way to describe rock music than to call it rock? Why call a flashlight a "mobile light source" or some other phrase for the sake of sounding different? It comes across silly and pretentious instead.
People shorthand words and phrases to things like OMG, LOL, BFF, deets, and probably one of the most famous shortcuts of all -- the abbreviation for "more of the same" -- "etc." I prefer to use natural, understandable language whenever possible.
If you create a language, write down the words you use and keep a definition handy. This will keep you from later misspelling or contradicting yourself. You should also create a phonogram chart (list of sounds). This will help you create a richer language.


What terms do your characters use for slang? Define these and list them so you have a ready reference for future books. List how and why the words became slang. This not only helps you maintain consistency in creation, it also helps you with creating future slang you might need.
Here is a list of Kelthian Street Slang. It's used in limited places, and there is far more listed here than I used in my actual books. However, I wanted a big list from which to choose a term.

Cobber is Kelthian street cant (characteristic language) used on Kelthia by slaves and gangs.
Boastin';  mess with, put on a front, tease, etc.
Clinkers;  great, fine, no worries
Going all Kin;  becoming feral, unruly, wild
Hawkin';  watching from the sidelines
Junk me;  pay no attention to me
Leave me sly;  forgive me, let me off
Lipped;  said, explained, told
No new coins;  same stuff different day, nothing new
Notta boasted you clean;  shouldn't have messed with you, or shouldn't have put on a front with you, teased you, etc.
Ride my pocket;  Follow me, stay on my tail
Right clinkers;  perfectly fine, totally great
Royal;  excellent, top notch
Scam-butt;  cheater, scam artist
Scat these taggers;  get out of these clothes, undress
Screech, the;  sickness of any type
Seein' you slip;  noticing you're not doing well
Smacked;  happy, pleased
Smackers;  general swear word with unspecified meaning. Dang, damn, hell, etc.
Sotted;  drunk
Spacin' me;  In my space, close to me
Space me;  give me some room, move away
Street freak or freaks;  homeless person or people
Street;  the street in general. Culture of the street.
Tawkin';  looking for action
What's down;  what's up or what's new
You skinnin';  you're skin and bones
Shake out those taggers;  what's under those clothes
Taggers;  clothes

Taken from the Tarthian Empire Companion, an illustrated World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series. The worldbuilding magic that makes Kayelle Allen's Tarthian Empire tick, the Companion shares 10k years of future history, peeks behind the curtain of scene and character creation, offers a quick tour of the empire, and dishes up a surfeit of secrets for fans, all in one illustrated volume. Original art by Jamin Allen and Kayelle Allen.

Where to Buy

Coming soon in print


Download the free "Top Stops" edition of the Companion and visit the most popular sites in the Tarthian Empire. Illustrated, 24 pp

Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, multi-published, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jacquie Biggar and her story, The Rebel's Redemption, stop by Penny's Tales

Annie Campbell's predictable and cozy life gets turned on its side when her son's prodigal father returns to town. Then an old enemy shows up and the outcome will not only place her in danger, but their son as well.

Jared Martin left Tidal Falls a hotheaded youth, and has seen his share of violence in the eight years he’s served Uncle Sam. Floundering, he returns to his hometown to regain his bearings, bitter and disillusioned.

Then he finds out he’s a father.
When an old enemy follows and causes mayhem in the small town, can Jared overcome the odds to protect the woman he’s always loved and the child he never knew, or will it be too late?


“Miss Campbell, guess what? Jake’s here. He was outside when we went to get Susan. How cool is that?”
“That’s pretty cool all right. How’d he get here? And where’s Chris?” She’d grabbed up a napkin to wipe the ice cream from her lips, when a voice out of the past lifted the hairs on the nape of her neck and sent a shiver down her spine.
“He’s here. With me.”
The smooth tones rolled over her, and sucked all the air out of the room. Annie stiffened, then crumpled the napkin and slowly turned in her seat—yep, it was Jared all right. And Chris.
He looked good. The random thought floated through her mind even as she tried to digest the fact he was finally back. Eight years too late, but he was here. She wanted to grab Chris and run. Run before what was obvious to her became obvious to everyone else. Shit.
“Hello, Annie, it’s been a long time.” Why was he looking at her as if she’d betrayed him? She wasn’t the one to cut and run without a single word in all this time. Goddamn him.
“Jared. Yes, it has been. A very long time. There were no phones where you were? Your mother probably would’ve appreciated knowing whether you were dead or alive.” Not to mention herself. She’d promised herself she wasn’t going down this road, the blame road. It was time to leave.
She turned her back on him, looked into Jack’s concerned eyes, and forced herself to smile as if her heart wasn’t shattering into a million tiny pieces. “I better get back. Tina needs to take her break. Call me later?”
He gave her waist a warm squeeze, and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek before sliding free. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but for what it’s worth, I’ve got your back.”
Near tears, she stood from the table, and without looking at either man again, grabbed both children’s hands and hustled them out the door.

Buy Link:

Book Trailer:  The Rebel's Redemption

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, & grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German Shepherd, Annie, and Calico cat, Harley. And can't function without coffee.
Learn about upcoming news, contests, recipes, and more from my newsletter.
You can follow me on http://jacquiebiggar.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Iris Blobel and her wonderful story, Let Me Love You, stops by Penny's Tales

Let Me Love You
By Iris Blobel

Oliver Dempsey, pitcher for a Melbourne baseball club, loves the women, and they love him…
But he keeps them at an arm’s length, and when he meets Tamara, he’s unprepared for the attraction he feels for her.  Told by his coach that she’s off limits, only draws him in more.
Tamara Amis moved to Melbourne to find some distance between her past and herself…
With the help of her uncle, the coach of a Melbourne baseball club, she quickly finds a job, and a place to live. Yet, one meeting with the handsome pitcher stirs unexpected emotions that threaten to overwhelm her.
It’s Oliver’s injury that brings them together, but as they find out about each other’s pasts, how can they be ready to share a future?


Sweat ran down Oliver’s back, soaking his shirt. He’d been on the field for a couple of hours, but frustration grew in him with every ball he missed. He placed his hands on his knees and took a deep breath, fixing his stare at the ground. For Pete’s sake, he was a pitcher, not a hitter, and well known for his fastballs as well as his perfect curveballs. Alas, he had neglected his hitting. Today, his swing was below average, and, unable to focus, he walked over to the bench where he spotted Coach Becker shaking his head towards him.
Pointing his finger back towards the field, the coach said, “Head right back out there, Oliver. You need to improve your hand-eye coordination. I want to see more, and better.”
Oliver cursed under his breath. “It’s not going to happen. My shoulder’s killing me. It’s been a long day.”
Coach Erik Becker rubbed his face.
“It’s not gonna happen today,” Oliver persisted.
With a grimace on his face, his coach nodded.
"Righteo, call it a day. But I want you back out there again in the morning, though.”
Oliver eased off his gloves and shoved them into his back pocket, before removing his helmet.
The coach gave him a gentle slap on his back. “I need you to concentrate more tomorrow. Remember what I told you. You need to focus on your proper stance as well as swinging the bat. Keep your eye on the ball as it comes towards you. Try to connect the bat with the ball, preferably at the fat of the bat. We have a game coming up soon. Go and deal with the shoulder issue. Check in for a massage.”
Oliver wiped his forehead with his arm when he noticed a woman standing in the coach’s shadow. Raising his eyebrows, he nodded towards her as to ask who she was.
Erik turned slightly. “Oliver, this is my niece, Tamara. She’s moved here from Perth. Tamara, this is Oliver.”
Oliver extended his hand towards her. “Nice meeting you.”
She ignored his hand and took a step back. Taken aback by her reaction, Oliver instinctively checked his hand for dirt or sweat. Questioningly, he looked at his coach.
Erik ignored the situation and simply said, “Have your shower and see me before you head off to discuss your training schedule.”
Nodding, Oliver took another quick look at Tamara. For a brief moment, their eyes met, and he was puzzled by her expression. It seemed as if her intense blue eyes were trying to hide something. The distant look in them was almost mysterious, and combined with her body language, he couldn’t help but get the impression something was wrong. She was very guarded.
With one last look towards Tamara, Oliver turned and left.
As soon as he got to the locker room, he peeled off his t-shirt. Pain shot through him the instant he lifted his right shoulder. He’d been ignoring the twinge during the training session, but knew he had to have it looked at. The fucking skateboard rider had nearly knocked him over the previous day when he came out of nowhere. Oliver hadn’t had a chance to move out of the way fast enough and slammed his shoulder into a post.
He slowly stripped out of his track pants before grabbing a can of Coke out of his bag. Leaning against the wall, he chugged half of the drink while enjoying the quietness around him. Everyone else was still out on the field trying to please Coach Becker. He choked a laugh, hoping his mates would put Erik in a better mood than he had. They had a few important games over the next few weeks before the season ended, and for the first time in years, the club was doing well.
As he walked to the showers, he thought about his training session and wondered whether his shoulder was to blame for the bad hits, or his lack of training. But who was he kidding, he always liked to throw everything he had at people, yet was hopeless in receiving anything thrown at him. That applied in baseball and in life. When he’d been to see his first baseball game as a kid in Los Angeles, he’d known he was born to pitch.

Buy Links:
Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Aq2J7r
Kobo Books:
Barnes & Noble: 

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Where to Find Me:
Twitter: @_iris_b

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Visit the old west in good ol' 2015!

Ever get the urge to hop on a horse and go riding in the desert? 

Ever want to try your hand at skeet shooting? 

What about getting a taste of the old west 
where the whole family can go?

You can find all this, an old west town, cattle drives, fabulous food, and so much more at Canyon Creek Ranch!

"Where the heck is Canyon Creek Ranch?"

It is located off I17 in Black Canyon, which is about 45 minutes out of Phoenix, AZ.  It's nestled in the beauty of the Upper Sonoran Desert and the Agua Fria pushes its way through the middle of Canyon Creek Ranch.

Learn more about this fabulous experience by visiting www.westerndestinations.com.


You certainly won't be sorry!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Why Grammar Matters by Iona Brodie

Four Big Reasons Why Grammar Matters

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on a series of edits for my forthcoming debut novel, Hot Voodoo. I would consider myself to have a pretty good grasp of spelling and grammar but some of the mistakes picked up by the editor left me red in the face.The question is in these days of text speak and computerised spellchecking does grammar, punctuation and spelling really matter?

Yes - poor grammar or spelling can alter the intended meaning of a message

I lost all respect for a senior leader in my organisation recently when he asked his team to “bare with him” through some changes. True story. If we had taken that request literally the office could have looked like a nudist colony at ten thirty on a Monday.

The only thing that I can remember about that message is the appalling error in his choice of words. Imagine that you made an error like that in a job application or a query letter? The contents of the letter will be long forgotten even while people are still laughing at you.

IS supporters made a similar blunder last week when a supporter threatened to “throw homosexuals off the leaning tower of pizza.” The tweet went viral and was ridiculed worldwide due to the mis-spelling of the name of the city of Pisa. A really funny mistake has the potential to spread across the world in mere minutes.

Yes – a good idea can be eclipsed by poor execution

Think about your novel. It might be the best idea since sliced bread but if the first paragraph makes a publisher wince the chances of him or her reading on are slim. Nobody expects you to be able to self-edit and for that reason there are people who specialise in this technical area. Nevertheless you should have a reasonable grasp of punctuation and grammar in the first place so that the underlying story and characters have a chance to shine.

If you want to send your novel out to a publisher or agent do have a friend read it over before you hit “send.” No matter how many times you have looked it over yourself there will always be things that you miss that somebody else will pick up. You don't need that person to have qualifications, a regular reader should pick up any glaring errors.

Bear in mind that whilst good grammar and punctuation is invisible, the bad stuff really does stick out from the page like a sore thumb.

Yes -  you have to know the rules to subvert them

I am literally dying.” Oh my, I hear you say, call the doctor. Except that you never batted an eyelid because the word literally is so misused this has become an accepted use of the word. The Oxford English Dictionary even gives one of the meanings of literally as “used for emphasis rather than being actually true.”

There is an argument that this usage originated from deliberately using it in the wrong way for dramatic effect. Rubbish. Having heard the word misused constantly over the last few years I am pretty sure that some people have no idea what literally means. To subvert something means having an understanding of the rules. For example Weird Al's parodies are so good because he understands the cliches of certain genres, such as rap music, and subverts them for comedy value. Subversion for comic effect should be the exception to the rule rather than the norm.

Yes - if Weird Al is singing about grammar then it must be mainstream

One of my favourite Weird Al parodies is Word Crimes, an irreverent take on the modern use of grammar set to the tune of Robin Thicke's 2014 superhit Blurred Lines. When the man who has parodied everybody from Lady Gaga to Chamillionaire sings about apostrophes and quotation marks then you know that the importance of grammar and punctuation is creeping back into popular culture.

Anecdotally the tide seems to be changing from acceptance of informal or shortform communication to an expectation of formality. For example Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, was in the news recently for saying that low-rate taxpayers were “literally living in a different galaxy.” The press latched onto the misuse of literally whilst largely ignoring the political point that he was trying to make. Neither the press nor a publisher will forgive a notable faux pas.

Getting it wrong....
Despite our best intentions with so many modes of communication available to us it is exceptionally hard to ensure one hundred percent accuracy. Whilst we can try our best in reality we all make mistakes and if you see any glaring ones in this post feel free to post a comment and shame me!



Iona Brodie writes fiction with a twist of mythology and the paranormal set in Scotland. Her first published novella, Dark Waters of the Heart, is firmly targeted at adults. Her debut novel Hot Voodoo, due out in Spring 2015, is aimed at young adults.
Find out more at:
Website and blog: www.ionabrodie.co.uk
Twitter: @IonaB_writer

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Robyn Echols presents her book, Aurora Rescue on Penny's Tales!


Aurora Rescue is the first book in the Aurora Series by Robyn Echols. The second book, Aurora Redress, is also available with the third, Aurora Recover, due out late in 2015.
The summer of 2024, when Solar Cycle 25 reaches its zenith is a time of auroras and adventure for Marty Clark, high school graduate, and her former tutor, Cy Riverton, age 18, a physics and math prodigy entering the master's program at the university. For Cy, the hike to Dead Man's Drop Cliff means gathering information to solve the toughest physics problem he has ever faced: How did his friend, Eddie Burrows, disappear from there during 2024 Spring Break and end up in Pennsylvania in the year 1857? Marty joins the hike to spend time with Cy, someone she hopes will someday be more than a friend, just days before she is to leave on a two-month history immersion tour. She has no idea just how immersed in history she will shortly become.
As a joke, Marty calls Cy's cell number while on Dead Man’s Drop Cliff. That starts an adventure through time that takes her from 1748 western Pennsylvania to 1758 Maryland where the fox terrier, Hunter, joins her. She befriends a Lenni Lenape woman, Green Corn, and stays with a colonial Englishwoman, Maggie. While trying to decide the culture in which she could live a happier life if Cy cannot figure out how to get her home, she finds herself threatened by tribal warriors and British colonists alike.
Only after Marty disappears does Cy realize how much she means to him. He communicates with Marty using text messages while he evades pursuit by FBI Special Agent Lee Hardin who remains suspicious of Cy's involvement with Eddie. Will Cy and Marty discover how to become reunited before time has run out for them?


Marty stood mere yards away, barely winded. She smiled widely at Cy while her eyes glittered with amusement. Even though she stood next to the boulders that now towered above her, the wind still whipped around Marty. She ignored the flapping of her hat brim and poncho. On impulse, she hit the shortcut key for Cy’s cell number again to call him.
Marty wanted to tease Cy. She intended to ask him if he received her message. She never had the chance. As soon as she pressed “send”, a prickly feeling started traveling up her arm from her wrist and hand that were closest to the wrist screen. It then went up to the back of her neck, then to her head and back down until it enveloped her whole body. She felt her body separating into billions of particles that began to spin with increasing speed. She no longer felt as though she was standing on the ground, surrounded by the earth and sky. Instead, she was falling through space. Small flashes of light spun around her, creating a tunnel of white streaks that wrapped around her like a cocoon.
What was happening to her?
Marty called out to Cy for help.


Robyn Echols has been writing since she was in junior high school. By choice, she spent most of her evening hours in her "dungeon", as her mother called her downstairs bedroom, writing stories, only joining her family in front of the television upstairs when her favorite programs were playing. She has spent hours learning and teaching family history topics, and focuses on history from a genealogist's perspective of seeking out the details of everyday life in the past. Several of her family history articles have been published in genealogy magazines. She also draws on her education, including training in Environmental Hazardous Materials Technology and her professional background of being a state-level union steward for a postal union, a position which required investigative, research and technical writing skills.
Now Robyn resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite” and has fun researching and writing the books that she hopes will interest and entertain her readers. She writes Young Adult/New Adult and contemporary fiction under Robyn Echols and adult historical romance under her pen name, Zina Abbott.

LINKS for Robyn Echols:

Robyn Echols Website: www.robynechols.com

Amazon Author Page Bitly: http://amzn.to/1GAmWKf

Robyn Echols Books Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/robynecholsbooks

Robyn Echols Books Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/robynecholsbook/


Amazon Bitly: http://amzn.to/1C944Dn

B & N Trade Paperback Bitly: http://bit.ly/1DDDEre