Friday, August 31, 2012

Student of Language

As a writer and a wordsmith, I've always been aware of how people use language. I am fascinated by the colloquial phrases that we utter and where we learn them. As I've become older, I've been able to watch words change definition and enter the mainstream of language with totally different meanings than they previously possessed.

Lately we've been checking out houses to buy, with a probable move in our future, and my husband and I chuckle over rooms that might be used as his "man cave." This is a fairly recent addition to our language base (maybe in the last year or two) but everyone knows what you mean now when you talk about that place where menfolk park their comfy recliners, hang their moose antlers, and tune their televisions to sports or war movies.

I remember the decade, and probably even the year (early 1980's - where I lived) when the definition of the word "gay" changed from being carefree and happy to what it means today.

I remember (about fifteen years ago) when the term "sucks" changed from a sexual connotation to just meaning something is bad or awful. Ask anyone older than about fifty and they'll nod their heads.

And as a writer, I have to laugh when euphemisms for the "F" word now seem perfectly appropriate in certain instances, and in certain novels for young people, even down to middle grade. I'm talking about flippin', freakin', frickin', friggin' or whatever other generic version you choose. (And trust me, middle grade writers constantly ask each other: is it okay to use this word in my novel? Apparently so.)

But let's not talk about cussing. The phrase that I'm hearing over and over right now (and indeed everyone seems to be using it - even my mother) is, I now proclaim, the new "Whatever." (Because really, who says that anymore?)

Ready? Ready? (Yes, I bet you've even used it yourself.) Here it is:

It is what it is.

Because really, that about covers it. *grin*

What phrase are you hearing these days, that just came into your language base? Please share.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Walking the Dog

I promised to show you the cover for my newest novel coming out from Musa Publishing's Euterpe Imprint, and guess what? This one finally features a dog on the cover.

Walking the Dog releases on September 21, 2012 so you don't have long to wait! It will be available as an ebook, in all formats. Here's the synopsis:

Jared is smitten when his teacher seats the new girl, Sophie, right next to him. Even with the scar running up the side of her face, Jared thinks she’s the most beautiful girl in the entire fifth grade. But why did she transfer here so late in the year? Rumors say something bad happened to her.

Jared and Sophie become friends while walking the guidance counselor’s new puppy, but when his parents object to this arrangement, Jared fabricates a series of elaborate lies to meet Sophie on the sly. But little brothers can be pests. First Petey lets the orange cat loose at the animal shelter where Jared and Sophie have been secretly walking the dogs. Then Petey turns up missing.

And Sophie's past finally catches up with her.
Walking the Dog will be priced at only $2.99, so I hope you'll buy a copy when it comes out. In fact, it's already listed on Goodreads right here,  if you'd like to add it to your to-read list.

Book Bloggers - Let me know if you'd like a review copy.

Thanks to all of my readers and fans, and everyone who has supported my writing career through the years. Your support means a lot to me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Print Copies - and a Giveaway

Hi Everyone - I have a great prize for you today! A Limited Edition Promotional Print Copy of either THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES or SIX DEGREES OF LOST.

These are my two latest books from Musa Publishing, and although you can buy them as an ebook whenever you like, these print copies are brand new.

And you can win one - your choice! I'm using Rafflecopter for this giveaway, and details are below.
Note: Print copies shipped to US addresses only. Everyone else can enter too, but will win an ebook version of the book.

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cat Comes Back

Guess who just showed up, meowing her head off, wanting to be picked up and made over? Lucy - our barn cat, who we haven't seen for about two months. I cried, brought her in the house, opened a fresh can of cat food, and found an old fleece jacket for her to sleep on.

What's so special about an old barn cat, you ask? Well, first off, all cats are special in this house. But Lucy, now nine years old, strolls in with a long story behind her.

She was found by my friend, at about one day old in a blackberry patch, one of six kittens and a starving mother. I took them home to my house, fed the kittens formula at first, until the mother gained some strength and was able to take over. Lucy was the runt. She had a tiny, malformed little face and I wasn't sure she would make it. But she did, and at a few weeks old, when we started the kittens on wet canned food, she stood in the middle of the dish growling at her brothers and sisters. That survival instinct must be why she's still here.

Although we found good homes for four of the kittens, and ended up keeping her brother and her mother (all of whom shortly got spayed and neutered) many of them met a bad ending. Coyotes, the road, and even people who think it's fun to shoot cats (don't get me started) all took their toll.

Lucy was once a spoiled house cat, but by choice decided she'd rather live outside. She moved first outside to our barn, and then to a group of tumble-down sheds next door. We have always kept food for her in the barn, and in turn she keeps it absolutely mouse-free. But stay in the house? Lucy would come inside for a little bit, where we'd bribe her with kitty treats and canned food and lots of petting. But soon, she'd spring for the door, wanting to be out in her world again - one that she seems to have mastered.

But because I know how old Lucy is, at nine years, I began to worry about her. Besides that, she has become increasingly feral, not showing her face at all for sometimes weeks or months at a time, or wanting to be seen or caught. So imagine my surprise when mid-day today I heard Lucy meowing in the bushes, over and over, obviously announcing her presence. Silly Cat. Within a few minutes, I had her in my arms and she was purring. Right now she is napping on top of the clothes dryer, perfectly happy. I wonder how long she'll stay this time.

This darn old cat, with a mind of her own, will always have a home with us. Inside or out.

Do you have a cat that comes and goes? Do you worry about them?