Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Five Secrets From Author Dana Wayne & Her Book ~ Mail Order Groom

It's my pleasure to bring you Five Secrets from Author Dana Wayne. 
Take it away Dana.

Thanks for hosting me again on your blog, L.A. It's a pleasure to be here.

I’m a sixth generation Texan – or seventh depending on which relative you ask. My maternal grandmother was half-Indian; which tribe is still debated among the family but most likely Cherokee or Choctaw. My maternal grandfather was Hispanic. I like tell folks I had relatives on both sides of the fight for Texas Independence.

I love to fish, am a pretty good photographer, and I am an avid tent camper. I love to cook outdoors in Dutch ovens and frequently teach classes to folks on how to do that.

A writer is always writing; sometimes on paper, sometimes in our heads. Anything can spark an idea and we can’t rest until that idea is put on paper. I have a folder on my computer entitled “things to write” which includes all those nuggets that pop into my head and won’t leave me alone until I put them on paper.

Hi, Dana, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Mail Order Groom or you, but will after today!

1)   Tyler Roundtree has his hands full with Emma. She is smart, independent and sexy as all get-out, but doesn’t know a thing about how to be a woman. It’s up to him to enlighten her.

2)   Emma’s take-the-bull-the-horns tendency is sometimes disconcerting for Ty, but things are never dull. Like their first kiss. And their wedding night.

3)   A lock of Emma’s hair is key to Ty’s recovery.

4)   Emma is shocked to discover she must deliver her best friend’s baby. Alone. And she doesn’t have a clue. Is it like pulling a calf? Does she need a rope?

5)    Ty and Emma’s marriage of convenience takes a drastic turn when Ty is shot.


“Find a husband in thirty days or lose the ranch when I die.”

Emma Marshall is stunned by her dying father’s ultimatum. With Twin Oaks to run alone, she avoids dealing with it, unaware of advertisements he placed seeking a groom.
Soon, prospects arrive, spurred by the promise of control of a prosperous ranch and a beautiful bride. Angry, embarrassed and heartbroken by her father’s tactics, she fights for her independence.

Tyler Roundtree responds to his best friends’ request and applies for position of temporary foreman at the Marshall place. Surprised to find his new boss is a beautiful, jean-wearing, gun-toting woman with enough grit to go bear hunting with a switch, he happily accepts the job.

Distracted by persistent suitors and a dangerous man intent on getting control of her ranch, Emma is totally unprepared for the instant attraction to Ty. Thrown together by chance, she wonders if he may be the answer to her problem. However, it soon becomes clear she knows everything about running a ranch, and nothing about being a woman.

A world-weary Southern gentleman, a fiery, independent woman; will a marriage of convenience bring them happiness or more heartache?


Find Dana: 

Monday, June 11, 2018

R&R: Raves and Rants from Multi-Published Author Amanda Cabot

I'm so pleased that Amanda Cabot is going to be a monthly contributor to this blog. I've always admired her mastery of grammar as I suffer from grammar-itis.
Thank goodness we have folks like Amanda around to help us.
Take it away, Amanda.

Welcome to R&R.  No, we’re not going to talk about rest and relaxation today.  R&R is shorthand for “One Writer’s Raves and Rants.”

When L.A. invited me to write a monthly column, she suggested I discuss grammar, perhaps because she knows that I’ve been known to throw books across the room – at least figuratively – when I encounter basic grammatical mistakes.  She might also have made the suggestion because she knew I once wrote a column whose original title was “In Defense of the Semicolon.”
Even though I suspect most of you are rolling your eyes, wondering if you’re going to be subjected to a discourse on that much maligned punctuation mark, I can assure you that there will be no semicolons … at least not today.  Furthermore, as the column’s title implies, there will be more than rants about grammatical mistakes here.  I’ll also talk about things that I see other authors doing well.  But today, we’re talking about grammar, and I’m going to rant about the misuse of the apostrophe.

I can’t imagine writing without apostrophes.  They’re used for contractions and to indicate a word’s possessive case, but – except in one extremely limited instance – they are NOT used to make a word plural.  (Did you notice how I used apostrophes in that sentence?  Those are the correct usages.)

Now, let’s start the rant.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen sentences like the following in published and supposedly edited books.  “They’re having dinner with the MacLean’s.”

What’s wrong with that?  If this were a book set in Scotland where the head of the clan is called “the MacLean,” the only problem might be that it’s missing a noun at the end of the sentence.  Perhaps the author meant to say that someone was having dinner with the head of the clan’s daughter.

Unfortunately, 99.9% of the time when I see a sentence like this, it’s a mistake.  A big one.  In all likelihood, the author’s intent was to say that someone was having dinner with several people whose last name was MacLean.  But our grammatically challenged author didn’t know that the correct way to form the plural of MacLean is very simple – MacLeans. 

No apostrophe! 

The same rules that apply to common nouns apply to proper ones like names.  The plural of chair is chairs, not chair’s.  The plural of horse is horses, not horse’s.  Why would anyone think that the plural of MacLean is MacLean’s or that the plural of Smith is Smith’s?  There’s only one reason I can imagine, and that’s that they didn’t know any better.

What if you were having dinner with several people whose last name is Simmons?  How would you form that plural?  No, it’s not Simmons’.  The answer is Simmonses.  If that seems awkward, I agree.  That’s why I changed one of my characters’ names from Simmons to something that did not end in an “s.”

We’re almost done.  Remember that I said there is one extremely limited instance when an apostrophe is used to create a plural.  Do you know what it is?  Lowercase letters, but only if the apostrophe is needed for easy comprehension. 

Consider the first letter of the alphabet.  I doubt anyone would misunderstand, “The child wrote a full line of As.”  But what about “a full line of as.”  Clearly, you need something to distinguish the word “as” from the plural of “a.”  That’s where our helpful apostrophe comes into play.  The same thing happens with the letters “i” and “u,” but those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

So, repeat after me.  Apostrophes are almost never used to make a word plural.

End of rant.


A lifetime of reading and writing, not to mention a host of teachers who believed that good grammar was one of the essentials of life, have given Amanda Cabot such firm opinions about the printed word that I asked her to share some with us in her Raves and Rants posts.  Although her working career was in Information Technology, Amanda achieved her dream of selling her first novel before her thirtieth birthday and is now the author of more than thirty novels as well as a number of books and articles for Information Technology professionals.  Her most recent release is A Borrowed Dream, the second of the Cimarron Creek trilogy.

Find all of Amanda's books, newsletter info and social media links here.