Friday, October 16, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The New Brilliant

I’m going to start a blog, my sister told me. Good, I answered. I will be your follower. She continued, if I’m going to write, I need to be out there on all the social media sites. True, I said, my heart sinking. She is right and I know it well. 

My brush with the publishing world has convinced me of the importance of that mystifying other world called the web. If her name is going to become well known, she must put it in places where people will see it. Not in bookstores, libraries, bookseller conventions and editors’ desks, but on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and book reviewers’ blogs.

I’m reading a collection of short stories published in the 1950’s. So marked is the difference between the writing in these stories and what I’ve seen endorsed by the largest bookseller on earth that I am perplexed and disheartened. Authors like Willa Sibert Cather, James Hilton, Kenneth Roberts, Donn-Byrne, Flannery O’Connor and Paul Vincent Carroll contended with knowledgeable and critical editors, publishers and peers, and their work stood up to the scrutiny. Now, who decides what is good has changed.

I’m not trying to imply that there aren’t currently any writers of quality work. I love the creations of many contemporary authors. But for those of us who aren’t established, who have promise but not a following, trying to rise above the “popular” work that inundates the web is akin to thrashing out of quicksand with gumboots on.

Compare this descriptive paragraph by Willa Cather with a book I read recently. The premise of said book was compelling, but the author described many of her characters by comparing them with celebrities: he looked like a young Harrison Ford.

This is how Cather describes one of her creations: ‘Olena, too, was rather inconveniently plump, handsome in a smooth, heavy way, with a fine color and good-natured, sleep eyes. She was redolent of violet sachet powder, and had warm, soft, white hands, but she danced divinely, moving as smoothly as the tide coming in.’ I aspire to that kind of writing.

There used to be writers who had a firm grasp of grammar and a familiar and easy relationship with language. Clearly that’s not universally true anymore. Somehow one fellow has a book, Unforeseen, that became the top seller on one of the lists at Amazon at one point. His grammar is appalling, punctuation is hit or miss and I’m not sure if English is his first language.

Here are some of his more memorable lines:

It was lucky for Gregory my cell phone rang, or he would have ate his next slice of pizza through a straw.

He didn’t, but I could have sworn I glimmered the salient shadow of a stern amid the high waves.

And my personal favorite – In the dim light reflecting off the lens I witnessed Alex’s delicate features form into complete aghast. I can feel my own delicate features doing the same!

This self-published volume has sequels, most of which have hundreds of favorable reviews. I couldn’t make myself read another, but perhaps he found an editor (other than Spell Check) who taught him how to use a dictionary and respect the language.

Here is the struggle: good writers without a voice or a platform or a following, working to make a name in a place where excellence, beauty, depth and heart are no longer important. My sister, a masterful writer, will work hard. I will keep writing myself, and we’ll both strive toward quality and distinction among the teeming masses who believe mediocre is the new brilliant.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Free on Kindle

Enjoying "The Crimson Field" on PBS as much as I am? 
Download my book - Light Over Water - to learn more about World War I. 
Free July 4-6, 2015 at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Review

Dry BonesDry Bones by Carole Morden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found myself mulling over this plot in the dark hours of the night - and thinking about it after the book was finished. As a pastor's wife, I could identify with the sense of lost identity the main character, Jamie Storm admits to. She is vulnerable, compassionate and smart, and dogged in her pursuit of justice. As an author, I appreciate Carole Morden's timing and humor. Her characters are well-developed, her dialogue is realistic and her story flows with a delicious momentum and a satisfactory element of surprise. Well done!
Noelle Carle - author of Waiting for Wren, Light Over Water and Some Smaller Grace

View all my reviews

Friday, February 20, 2015

Price Reduced!

For the first time since its publication in March 2014, Waiting for Wren in e-book form is available at a reduced price! 

Follow this link to download your copy today:


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Grammar Primer - It's a mystery!

What is the difference between "it's" and "its"? One of them shows possession and one is a contraction of two words. Do you know which shows possession? If you chose "it's", I'm sorry - you're mistaken. But you're not alone.The editor of our local newspaper has trouble with this one. 

"It's" is the contraction of the two words it and is.  For example, it's rather chilly outside today  can also be rightfully said, it is rather chilly outside today. Nothing is possessed, nothing is owned. 

Unlike nouns and proper nouns, the possessive form of it does not have an apostrophe in it. The kitten licked its paw, or the basketball team gave its all.

How can you easily and correctly decide which form to use? Try substituting "it is" in your sentence. If it makes sense, then you would use the contraction with the apostrophe. If it doesn't - as in, the kitten licked it is paw - then you don't use the apostrophe.

Does it really matter? In the eyes of a discerning public, yes, definitely. The followers of your blog would rather not work to decipher your meaning. An editor of your article cares about how much effort is required to fix it. A professor will mark your paper according to how much you know about the standards of communication.

Lol or brb are fine for phone talk. But if you have full keyboard at your finger tips, you can be confident about the proper use of it's and its. With this handy tip, it's easy to put it in its proper place!

Next time...your and you're.

Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018     God has made so many promises to us and has proven himself faithful time after time. In a year defined by upheaval...