Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Let the red ink flow...

Being home has given me entirely too much time to discover the atrocious use of language touted as English. This needs explanation.

I edit, copyedit or proof [whatever you call it], and encourage others to write. In my journeys as an editor, I'm aware I will encounter many, make that most, who have little knowledge of the proper use of the English language. Fine. My job is to gently nudge them to proper application without their cognizance of my efforts.

I get it -- English is boring.

English also spices up our everyday speech -- all those swear words that slip from your lips have a beginning -- and English opens channels of communication. My mother was the poster child for being able to stop an action by giving "the look". She commented, on more than one occasion, a person could make their dissatisfaction known without resorting to swear words. Hence, the look.

All of this gobbledegook is a segue to the following peeve: if you purport to be an expert of a certain skill, prove it by practicing what you preach.

I am finding writing experts who should take a few lessons from their own pages. This time the skill is the ability to describe an action, scene, person without the use of 'like'. Do you hear that sound? It's my teeth grinding together. Let me provide a quick example.

Lizbeth's eyes sparkled with excitement, like fireworks on the 4th of July. 
[I don't know about you, but all I see are the fireworks, not Lizbeth's eyes.]

Now: Lizbeth's eyes sparkled with excitement.
[I believe I can see her excitement. How about you?]

Entirely too many writers feel the need to extend their description by 'like' phrases. Figure out what catches your attention about the phrase and use it in your description.

Leave the 'like' phrases to the 8th graders.

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ruminations of a caged writer

You would think with all this time on my hands I'd be writing until my fingers bleed. Not so. I find my brain feels permanently idled. The ideas flit in and out. I get excited about putting them on the page until I sit at my computer. Then that blasted cursor blinks at me -- unrelenting -- patient -- waiting. All thoughts drain from my brain, and my stress level rises through the roof.

As human beings, we are put through so much stress on a daily basis we get used to the pressure. When we are forced to slow our life, breath, and live, many of us don't know how.

I have three sewing projects I want to accomplish. Twenty-five books waiting in the queue to be written and places I would love to visit, but I sit feeling stymied. I'll be going back to work toward the end of this week. My leave has expired, however, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise. I'll be forced to move forward. Maybe, my other projects will benefit as well.

Time will tell. Be safe, stay healthy.

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Hello... Goodbye


This sweet face is our kitty, Dusty. She wandered into our yard about a month after we moved into our new home. She was emaciated, bones showing, and craving attention. While skittish, she soon came to trust us and went from an outdoor kitty to a house kitty. We really didn't know how old she was but we spoiled her for her last five years. 


I've finally been hired to a full time position. I've been working as a temporary, part-time, whatever-I-could-find person since 2013. It will be nice to have a bit of security.

How has your January shaped up?

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year, New Options

Happy New Year!

A new year shines before us. Don't blow it. Stop talking about that book you're going to write, and put the words on paper or a computer. As Yoda says, "Do or do not." There is no middle ground.

Find a friend, writing partner, online group who will guide you on your journey. Make sure they have your best interest at heart. Hearing about all the mistakes you're making doesn't move you to a positive place. Do what I call 'throw up' writing. Just put all the words down. Don't edit, yet, just write. This advice is as old as writing. Once you have the unadulterated version on paper, computer, walk away for a day or two. Rest, watch a favorite program or play a favorite game. Give your brain time to recover.

Then... pick up your red pen and start to edit, edit, edit. Words don't bleed and, like bunnies, once you get started, they multiply by the hundreds. The process will be slow to start, but once you put the concept into action, you'll realize how easy it is.

Good Luck and have a safe New Year.

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Missing in Action

I have been missing in action. No excuses. I was never one to keep a diary as a young girl, so, putting my feelings and emotions out for all to see is -- uncomfortable. 

As with many others, I do have opinions regarding politics and religion. However, at a very young age, I learned to keep my opinions to myself. Years of working as a bartender, and bouncer, proved just how dangerous spouting off about your opinion can be.

To the business at hand; if you are an entity of any note whatsoever, make sure what you put in print shows your intelligence, not the lack thereof. Having an unlimited supply of bright compatriots surrounding you should be the key to relying on their knowledge [and loyalty] to make you appear bigger than life.

Do not follow the bad example being set in Washington, D. C. Think before you type.

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Today,  I'm pushing shameless self-promotion. My 18th publishing has been released and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I'll be trying to post to this space more often. Life just keeps getting in the way!

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Fear and how to use it

Wednesday started as a routine day. Hotter than normal for my corner of the country, but nothing out of the ordinary. I attended an interview for a bill-paying job and joined my husband at the hospital where he was having a scope run through his arteries. Not my idea of a good time. I've been exposed to this medical procedure as heart problems have effected my father and brother; the pair experiencing two quadruple, and one triple, bypasses between them. 

This, however, is my husband. Waiting four hours to have the explanation of what was done beyond, 'a stint was put in', pushed me to experience fear as I've never felt before. I admit I've gotten sissy-la-la as I've aged. I used to be a bit fearless [read reckless] and would accept any challenge if someone said 'I bet you can't do it'. After all, I was going to live forever.

Not now. I am aware of my lifespan limitations and, as such, have developed myriad fears. This was beyond anything I've experienced. Nauseous, where's-the-bathroom, breaking-out-in-a-sweat raw fear. 

When the doctor arrived and explained just how close my husband had been to a heart attack, I'm surprised I didn't throw up. As I said, I've been down this road several times before, but this was in my life right now. He's been having problems for a couple years of exhaustion and breathlessness, and this diagnosis from the doctor just reinforced the idea of pushing for help until you find the root of the problem. 

I have a recent, vibrant, sensation of fear and, in my writing, I will be dredging up those feelings to give umph to my work. Use good, or bad, experiences to pull your readers into the fray. After all, you want them standing next to you with light sabre in hand. Right?

Mistress of the Red Ink Pen