Big Steps

As many of you know, I just moved with my family across the country. There have been big changes for our family, and as a result I’ve been quiet as a blogger and as an editor. I had to turn down a few really great projects earlier this year because there just wasn’t time – I needed to focus on my family and our move. We’ve been here a little over two months now, and we’re busier than ever but we’re also making more time for me to return to editing and blogging. SO here are a few things I’m up to:

1 – Today is the first day I have a babysitter here with the little two while the big two are at school so I can get some dedicated work time during the day. It’s a big thing for me to have someone watch my kids, even if I am just upstairs…

2 – I joined the Editorial Freelancers Association! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and finally just did it. I now have access to their courses at a discounted rate, I’m listed in their freelancer database for potential clients to find me, and I have access to their job board. ALSO I now have access to many, many colleagues from whom I can learn a ton. I’m excited!

3 – I’m working with an indie author on his book, copy editing to help prepare for submission to agents. I have been doing smaller projects recently (and still am!) and I’m SO excited to be working on a book again.

I have a lot of ideas of where I want to go with this — too many to fit into the time I have, of course, so I have to talk myself down every once in a while before I get myself committed to more than I can reasonably accomplish. For now, though, I’m going to have two dedicated mornings a week to edit — and time to do things like figure out how on earth to fix that EFA Member badge you see there on the sidebar all the wrong size (except I’ll probably just call in my IT department, aka my husband!).

Thanks for reading and supporting me. And if you know anyone in need of an editor, send them my way!

2018 Reading Recap and Welcome, 2019!

2018 was… busy! Most importantly, my family gained a new member in my wonderful son, who is now three months old. His birth and the many, many hours spent nursing (and my stint on bedrest) enabled to me to read A TON, but not review a whole lot. Here are the stats:

Goodreads Challenge: Goodreads tells me in one place that I read 75 books, and in another that I read 79. I’m not going to go back and recount so… I read somewhere between 75 and 79 books. I had set my goal for the year at 20 so I far exceeded that, go me!

Reviews here on The Edifying Word: Out of those 75-79 books, it looks like I reviewed somewhere around 20 books, and some of them I had read in 2017… yikes, that’s a poor showing for a book blog! I’m going to try my best to get more reviews up this year – though I’ll have to start by backtracking to some of those 2018 books!

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So what’s in store for 2019? Well, I’ve already read two books! Granted, one was a kids chapter book and one was a short story – but that’s still two books. I’m thinking this year that I’m going to include kids chapter books and middle grade fiction in my Goodreads total because I read A TON OF THEM aloud with my kids. If I included every picture book I read, though, it would be an overwhelming total so I think I’ll hold off on those (unless they’re picture books I’ve received for review or that I just found to be amazing). Hmm…maybe I should rethink my Goodreads Challenge goal of 30 books. I’ll have to recalculate what I think is reasonable now that I’m including the reading I do with the kiddos…

I’m also thinking about some more thematic posts and some shorter reviews. Thematically, sometimes I read a bunch of books in one genre that would be better suited to discussing as whole on the blog and reviewed separately via short reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Shorter reviews because 1) I want the reviews to actually happen, and 2) I usually only read short reviews on those sites. Actually, I’m more likely to pick up a book based on a compelling tweet than a drawn out review, which has me rethinking my strategy here… So, hopefully 2019 will bring more frequent posts and a few positive changes on the blog side. The editing/betareading side is another issue altogether 🙂

This year’s books both earn five stars, and deserve posts of their own. For now, just take a look (pictures link to Goodreads)! I hope to be back soon with more to share. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Let’s talk about homophones

First, let’s define “homophone” so we’re all clear on what we’re talking about. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “homophone” is defined as:

  • one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling (such as the words to, too, and two)

There are LOTS of these in the English language, and they’re really, really easy for writers to mix up; they’re also really, really easy to miss at the editing phase, especially the self-editing phase. (This is why my husband and sister are invaluable in editing my blog posts…though usually after I’ve published. So I look stupid for a day or two until one of them points it out and then I fix it. Imperfect system, I know).

Here are some common sets of homophones:

  • Two, to, and too (as mentioned above)
  • Ate and eight
  • Ant and aunt
  • There, they’re, and their
  • Bare and bear
  • Night and knight
  • Tale and tail
  • Through and threw
  • Its and it’s (this one is mixed up SO often)
  • Etc….

While I was thinking about this, I had a momentary mental block and did some googling – there are so many of these (usually pairs) that I hadn’t even thought of! I stumbled upon this really interesting site that has a bunch of worksheets for teaching kids how to choose the right (write? hehe) homophone, check it out!

Not on my short list above and probably not often taught to children is the following set, which also happens to be the one that has prompted my current rant about homophones:

  • Peek, peak, and pique

Now, most people are probably taught the difference between “peek” and “peak,” but I’m going to venture a guess that “pique” is not commonly taught – because I rarely ever see it used correctly; typically I see “peak” used in its place. However, I just read a novel in which I’m honestly not sure any of the three homophones was used correctly even once (eek)! So, I’m going to try to clear up the confusion with some definitions and sentence examples – and then make a plea for authors to utilize the services of a good copyeditor!

For starters, definitions (all from Merriam-Webster online):

Peek (also peeked; peeking; peeks): 1a: to look furtively (A little girl peeked around the corner of the chair at him.); b: to peer through a crack or hole or from a place of concealment often used with in or out (peeked in through the window; peeked out at us from behind the curtains; 2: to take a brief look: glance (peeked ahead to the next chapter to see what would happen)

Peak: 1: a pointed or projecting part of a garment; especially: the visor of a cap or hat (The cap’s peak shades his eyes.); 2: promontory (a steep rocky peak); 3: a sharp or pointed end (the peak of a roof); 4a(1) : the top of a hill or mountain ending in a point (the fog hung … heavily on the peak of the hill), (2): a prominent mountain usually having a well-defined summit; b: something resembling a mountain peak (Beat the cream until it forms stiff peaks.); 5a: the upper aftermost corner of a fore-and-aft sail; b: the narrow part of a ship’s bow or stern or the part of the hold in it; 6a: the highest level or greatest degree (a singer at the peak of her popularity); b: a high point in a course of development especially as represented on a graph (The graph shows that murders in the city reached a peak two years ago.); 7: widow’s peak

Pique (also piqued; piquing): 1a: to excite or arouse especially by a provocation, challenge, or rebuff (sly remarks to pique their curiosity); b: pride (he piques himself on his skill as a cook); 2: to arouse anger or resentment in: irritate (what piques linguistic conservatives)

So, here are some ways you can NOT use the above words:

  • A collared shirt cannot “peak” out from inside a sweater. (Correction: “peek”)
  • A subject cannot “peak” the interest of a character (Correction: “pique”)
  • One cannot reach the “peek” of anything – be it a mountain, a social hierarchy or anything else. (Correction: “peak”)

And now my plea: Writers – PLEASE find yourself a good copyeditor to ensure your work is free from such easily preventable errors – this could be a friend, spouse, parent, etc. It doesn’t have to cost you money but WILL bolster your reputation as an author.