Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category


Whew! I’m glad that’s over. Ever have one of those weeks? My last week was jam packed with inn guests, meetings and special events. I mean jam packed!! (more…)

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woman-riding-bikeHow often have you heard the expression: It’s just like riding a bike? Something you used to do – and overall, do well – then you stop doing it, then you do it again. The concept is that you can just pick up right where you left off and still know how to do it. Like riding a bike. Right? Wrong. (more…)

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1sts and lasts 1

Two or three or fourteen weeks ago, I posted some opening and closing sentences from my manuscript entitled On Hallowed Ground. That book is the second in a series (the Grounded series) that has been professionally edited and is nearing its final phase of production before presentation to the world. Stay tuned for more info on that. (more…)

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I need a lesson in Facebook etiquette.

FB rules

I mean, think about it, anybody can join Facebook but when you sign up you aren’t handed a list of rules or an instruction manual or anything. So how does one know, besides the obvious common sense stuff like pornography, copyright infringement, bullying, etc., what is appropriate FB behavior and what is not?  People post whatever the hell they want whether others wish to see it or not; freedom of speech and press and whatnot. I know you can unfriend and unlike and hide posts and all, but once you’ve seen the post, you can’t unsee it. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Let me explain.


Recently I decided that I haven’t been giving my FB author page enough love, so I decided to spend a little more time over there. I try to be upbeat and positive and not offend anyone when I post on that particular page. Nothing religious, political, offensive, snarky – well maybe snarky – but you get it. Anyway, I decided to reach out to some of my FB “friends” who haven’t yet “liked” my author page. So, I sent out invitations to “like” my page. That’s appropriate right? There were a lot of names on my “friends” list to invite; some of them, honestly, I didn’t even recognize. I guess at some point those folks requested to be my friend and I accepted.

Anyhoo, most people either ignored the invite, didn’t see the invite, or “liked” my page. Good right? Well, apparently not for everyone. Here’s one of the responses I got back: “Please don’t invite me to like your page when you haven’t been to mine.

Excuse me?

woman shocked

First of all, I’ve never even heard of this person, other than their name appearing on my “friends” list. I’ve never seen any posts on any social media platform from this person. I guess at some point, SHE must have come across me and requested that I be her friend, because I never send “friend” requests to people I haven’t seen somewhere else before. NEVER. Assuming she sent the “friend” request (and she did), I must have done some snooping around and deemed her an appropriate “friend”, because she is on my current list of “friends.” I usually only “friend” people I’ve “seen around” in cyber world, met in person, was recommended to find by someone I trust, or owns a reputable business. That’s pretty much it.

Second, why did she make the assumption I “haven’t been to” her page? Maybe I did visit and I chose NOT to “like” it. See, this is where that rule book would come in handy. Am I obligated to “like” a page just because I visited it? What if I truly don’t like her page? What if I don’t like what she posts or what she stands for? Why in God’s name would I “like” that?

Which brings up another point where I must defer to the rule book. Is it a requirement that people reciprocate in kind? I mean, just because someone “likes” my page, does that mean I HAVE to like their page?

egotistical friend meme

Third, why do I have to “like” her page FIRST? I mean, can’t she “like” me and then I “like” her back? I guess if the world really does revolve around her, that logic would make sense, but seriously? Someone has to be the first to “like” right? And, let me restate that SHE originally sought me out, not the other way around. Shouldn’t she, in theory, “like” me first?

Fourth, did she ever invite me to “like” her page? I’m pretty sure if she had, I would have hit the “like” button, after all, I did choose to “friend” her. Why would I “friend” her but not “like” her? Seriously, who “friends” someone they don’t like?

Fifth, which ties in to number four above, perhaps I didn’t even know she had a page. Why not “like” me FIRST then encourage me to “like” her page in return. I’m pretty certain, I’d have hit that “like” button. See how simple that would have been? Now, after her in-your-face, egotistic, narcissistic (is that the same thing?) comment, I’m not so inclined to “like” anything about her or her page. Just saying.

ego meme

It’s all so terribly confusing sometimes. What’s your opinion of the whole “friending,” “liking” business on Facebook? Has it ever confused you? How do you decide when to hit the button and become friends with a complete stranger? Do you accept invitations to “like” pages? Do you have “friends” but choose not to “like” their pages?

Word of the Day: Chiropodist

Fun Fact about Me: I gained a whole bunch of new “likes” on my FB author page in the past couple of days. Yay! (That’s good right?)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2016. Images courtesy Google Images.

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As a writer, it’s important to know where to start your story. “You start at the beginning,” is the obvious answer, but as all writers know, it’s not that simple. You see, stories always “start” way before the real story starts. Characters have lives before you meet them on the page. (more…)

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chapter oneWell, I finally did it; I started a new book. That’s right folks, after nearly 2 years, I’ve starting composing fresh characters in a fresh setting. I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come again, but – whew – it’s here. (more…)

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It’s national poetry month, or so my calendar tells me. That means nothing to me, except for the fact that I’m neither a poet nor a fan of poetry.

poetry motto

However, I do appreciate some literary works that technically fall into the poetry category. For instance, I do like some of Walt Whitman’s works, especially his Leaves of Grass. While I don’t get all gushy and weep at the words and the way they are arranged on the page, I do feel “moved,” be reading certain passages.

Walt Whitman

So, in honor of national poetry month, and my simple-minded understanding of Walt Whitman’s compositions, here goes my tribute:

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body . . . .” (Leaves of Grass)

My favorite part of that: “re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book.” Love that. And now I’m off to stand up for the stupid and the crazies.

flowers in forest

Happy April followers and friends. In my opinion, the picture above is nature’s poetry. Wouldn’t you agree?

Do you enjoy poetry? Do you understand poetry? What’s your take on the excerpt above?

Word of the day: Gabelle

Fun fact about me: I once had a literary agent tell me my manuscript was too poetic. Ha! I scoff at her analysis.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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That’s what I need help with this week fellow bloggers, faithful followers and curious guests.

You see, I’m stuck. I’m roughing out the outline for my next manuscript and I have most of the requisite parts. What I can’t figure out is: how to kill someone who’s already dead. Um, sort of. Someone thinks she killed him but then the body disappeared, but then reappeared. It’s confusing. Keep reading.

My protagonist (Q) gets into a physical altercation with a man (X) who she believes had something to do with her sister’s (T) disappearance. Q thinks this because X is seen wearing T’s very unique (one-of-a-kind) amulet around his neck. During the altercation, Q hits X in the head with a rock then crawls back to her car (she’s hurt too) and calls her then boyfriend (G) for help disposing the body.

tourmaline amuletWhen G gets to the scene of the altercation, there is no body. He follows a pair of footprints (presumably X’s) into the desert but the gusting wind eventually erases all tracks. G assures his lady love (Q) that she did not kill X because he walked away. Presumably.

Fast forward several years; the very dead body of X is discovered in a shallow grave in the middle of the desert in almost exactly the same place Q had the altercation with him. No amulet is found on the body. Q calls G to help investigate what might have happened (no, it’s not alien abductions and no they are not still a couple. That’s right a necessary reunion after a very bad break-up).

G’s investigation leads to the discovery of a human trafficking ring (the most likely explanation for T’s disappearance).

Super short synopsis of what is learned during G’s investigation:

desertX was found wandering on the side of the road by an unsuspecting teen-aged boy (Z) (coincidentally T’s boyfriend at the time she disappeared). Z also noticed the amulet. When Z realized that X was bleeding all over his car and most likely going to die (from a head injury), he drove X out into the desert and dumped him out of his car. (He didn’t want to get stuck with a dead body even if he didn’t kill him.) Coincidentally, where Z dumped X is almost exactly the same place Q thought she killed him. Z kept the amulet that’s why it was not on the body and that’s how G eventually comes to suspect him; G sees Z wearing the amulet.

Here’s the problem: What is the cause of death?

Q hit him on the head with a rock. Z pushed him out of a moving car. Scavengers, weather and time destroyed most of the remaining human evidence.

X can’t have died from the head injury, because Q is the protagonist of the story and cannot go to jail for murder. She has to think she is going to jail for the duration of the story.

Z is a very minor character and really only here as a red herring. The shove out of the moving car did not kill him. He is the number 2 suspect though, behind Q.

What else could have killed X? Coyotes? Vultures? It has to be definitive and eventually ruled as the cause of death over the head injury. The head injury turns out, was not a lethal blow. But something was definitive – what?

So there you go. That’s what I need help with. Put on your thinking caps and give me your thoughts. What ultimately killed X?

What do you do fellow writers when you get stuck? Have you ever killed off a character? It’s hard to get inside the mind of a murderer and virtually impossible to do any research.

Word of the Day: Yegg

Fun fact about me: I’ve never killed anyone. Well, real anyone anyway.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.



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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

You know, when you write something, and then you finish writing it, and then you read it, and then you fix it, and it’s pretty darn good, so you send it to your critique partners, who point out all of the ugliness and you think, “this is crap,” so you change stuff and fix things until you just know it’s a masterpiece, so you send it back to your critique partners, who confirm that in fact your work is “better,” so you give it another once over before shooting it off to your beta readers, who point out some awkward sentences and misspelled words and stuff and then you think, “I suck,” but you put on your big girl panties and read it again, and then you think maybe they’re right, so you fix the weirdness and make some more changes, to the point where you’re really comfortable with this quintesential all American novel, so much so, that you enter it in some writing

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

contests and hold your breath for the feedback to arrive, and when it does your eyes bulge out of your head, your mouth drops open and steam explodes out of your ears, at which point you think, “who wrote this garbage and why did they think it was good enough to enter it into a contest,” but you stand determined to fix the piece of crap, because you’ve invested months in these strings of words and, after all, you are a writer and you will write, so you edit yet again and then, once more, for good measure, until you’re absolutely sure this is the most awesome thing anyone has ever read, but just to be sure, you beg your critique partners to read it one more time, and they tell you that it’s really good now, so you attach that brilliant prose to your sparkling query letter and e-mail it off to your dream agent, who in turn replies that they’re not interested in your story at this time, but that, as any author knows, all novels are subject to opinion and just because one person isn’t interested, doesn’t mean someone else won’t be, yadda, yadda, yadda, so you swallow half a bottle of tequila and

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

send the same, less-than-stellar manuscript off to the second most dreamy agent on your list only to receive the same boilerplate rejection letter, which is really just a lame ass, cop out way of saying you’re a loser and your work sucks, but thank you for playing our game, but you refuse to cry any more tears over their drivel and decide that maybe it’s time to bring out the big guns, so you hire a professional editor who sends back your work covered in red ink which justifies what you already knew but didn’t want to admit: “I’m a writer!”

Yeah – that’s where I’m at.

Writing is hard. The end.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

So, what’s going on in your world? Any positive advice for the bummed out writer? How do you stay positive when querying?

Word of the Day: Viridian

Fun fact about me: My favorite Disney movie is Mary Poppins.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2016. Photos and images courtesy Google Images.

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I’m a word snob; I admit it. But, I have to be. I’m a writer, it comes with the territory. If’n I didn’t talk good nobody’d buy my books. But here in the south, folks, even well educated folks, look at you funny if you speak proper English.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

Here, people like to run words together. I find it amusing to listen to the locals talk. I know what they’re saying, but it’s ain’t said right. Here, they use words like “witchore,” and “atchu.” I’ve started a mental dictionary because I hear repeated piggybacked words all run together a lot. Here’s a partial list:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Witchore – “What kind of dressing you want witchore salad?”

Tars – “Yesterday I had two flat tars on my car.”

Atchu – “I’m looking atchu.”

Deygohn – “Are the Rickrodes still in California?” “No. Deygohn.”

Andem – “Who’s coming for dinner?” “Patricia andem.”

Ohl – “You put a little ohl on that and it’ll slide easier.”

Gwan – “Gwan down the Frontage road to Wal-Mart.”

Sumpin – “You want sumpin to drink?”

I’m trying my darndest not to laugh at these colloquialisms but sometimes a smile still creeps onto my face. So far I haven’t had to explain myself, but I’m sure one of these days, someone will ask me what I find amusing.

What about you dear readers, what expressions make you smile? What wrong words drive you crazy? The one I find the most annoying is using “axe” for “ask.” Drives. Me. Nuts. Don’t axe me why.

Word of the Day: Bonbonniere

Fun Fact About Me: I secretly enjoy silently making fun of the way people talk. Hey, I’m a self-admitted word snob.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images

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