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Sent to Coventry

Coventry
Coventry UK has just won the bid to be City of Culture for 2021. The official announcement was made just as the audience was settling down to a play in my local theatre. The production was delayed slightly for the artistic director to tell everyone the news, which was greeted by a huge roar of approval and clapping – a good way to get the actors geed up for their performances too! I have lived in Coventry, with its world famous new cathedral, for over twenty years – longer than I have lived anywhere else in England or Wales. What surprised me most when I first moved to the city was how down beat everyone was about the place. “Why made you move to live here?” was a regular question, not utter...
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Speling Misteaks

Love in Waiting
Graham Sharpe co-founded the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, and was a judge for this year’s competition (which was won, incidentally, by a biography of the cyclist Tom Simpson by Andy McGarth). After reading the 131 books that were entered into the competition he was dismayed by the number of misspellings of simple words. He described it on the Bookseller website as a ‘crime against books.’ He sympathised with writers, who can become blind to their own mistakes, and wondered whether some of the problem lay with the demise of the ‘dragon’ editor (my description), from the big publishing houses. Indie publishers have always been under time and financial constraints and have little...
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Playing with words.

And Alex -cover
Just a few lines today on words that describe games people can play with words. (More popular perhaps in the time before TV and social media, but could come in useful in a power cut if all you have is pen, paper – and a torch.) An acronym is made up of the first letter of each word in a phrase. It is a comparatively new phenomenon (the first recorded use is in the early 1940s). Radar (radio detecting and ranging), and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) are acronyms) are acronyms. An acronym needs to be pronounceable – hence RSVP at the bottom of a letter requesting a reply is an initialism, not an acronym. Acrostics is where, in a poem for example, a number of letters form...
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Christmas Phobias

christmas cracker
Soon we will be celebrating Christmas. Our mundane routines taken over by the excitement of visits to and from our loved ones, preparing and consuming food, drinking, parties … Bring it on! But not quite yet – I like Christmas as much as the next person, but prefer to restrict it to the fortnight encompassing the 25th and New Year’s Eve. So, as it is not yet December, I feel entitled to spend a bit of time on the perils – for some – of the Christmas holidays. Pity the poor person who is expected to join in a round of parties but has cherophobia (fear of gaiety), or chorophobia (dancing). Maybe their fears are more entrenched and they have koinoniphobia (fear of a room full of people), and th...
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Text Speak and ‘Proper’ Writing

text1
There are stories about people attempting to write novels using Twitter (so much easier now that you have 280 characters to play with!). The process may certainly help concentrate the mind, and cut out padding, though this maybe counteracted by a lavish application of txt spk and emoticons, so you can pack more in each episode / tweet. Why write a tweet about someone feeling sad, if you can simply slip in a down-at-mouth emoji? The same goes for text messages. For some people, text messaging abbreviations we are all familiar with (even if some of us are not too sure what they mean) illustrate an accelerating decline in standards of written English – there have been newspaper articles about c...
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Ever fancied a spot of polysemy?

pen to paper
Despite it sounding a bit like polygamy, there is nothing naughty or illegal about it. Polysemy is derived from the Greek polusemos – having many meanings. Its opposite is monosemy – having one meaning / unambiguous. Writers practice polysemy every time they put pen to paper, without thinking about it. (See? How many meanings are there to the word pen? Or practice?) The English language is awash with words that mean more than one thing. It’s one of its glories and, when trying to select words that will avoid all ambiguity, or expressly pinning them down to one meaning, the language can end up turgid and dull. Few people read a law report for fun. If so inclined, you can have fun with polysem...
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Why go to a writers’ group?

anthcov2
Aspiring writers are always encouraged to attend a writers’ group. It certainly helped me make the shift from writing factual reports and practice manuals for work, to fiction. I still go to my local group for the camaraderie, and the tips. Sometimes I even have one to offer myself. The Coventry Writers’ Group includes a writer who has many successful publications under her belt. Others have won prizes for their work, or contribute regularly to magazines, or are gaining a reputation as performance poets. Some are just starting out and looking for advice. One member recently self-published a novel and was willing to use his experience to help the group publish something together. We were keen...
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A superfluous word can be useful.


Did you notice that I started my last blog with the word ‘so’? Did it annoy you? Apparently the BBC has been deluged with complaints about interviewees starting every response with the word. And on Tuesday, there was an article in the Times, as well as an editorial, in response to this. Though, in fairness, the paper didn’t seem to take the issue too seriously. In all probability hapless interviewees are just playing for time, gathering their thoughts, or feeling nervous. They’ve been told not to say ‘um,’ ‘well,’ and ‘er’ and, in avoiding these words (and knowing ‘like’ is the domain of the young), they’ve hit on ‘so.’ ‘So’ is a relatively new kid on the block, perhaps first used by program...
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That Dreaded Radio Interview – follow up!

radio_studio_3.fw
And so, on Sunday afternoon I found myself standing  nervously in the cold in Stratford-upon-Avon, waiting to be let into the radio studio. It helped that the presenter was also waiting to be let in, and could assure me that I was expected. Yes, I had the right time and the right place. He was also confident that somebody, soon, would hear the bell and come to the door. My own confidence increased as it was obvious the presenter, (Nick Le Mesurier – see his comment and links at the foot of my last post), was fully prepared for the programme, was very re-assuring, and had a range of plan Bs in case anything went wrong. This included a plan to cover the fact that a co-interviewee,  Andrea Mbar...
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That dreaded radio interview!

radio_studio_3.fw
The other day, out of the blue, I received an email asking if I wanted to take part in a radio programme to talk about my recent book and, maybe, read an excerpt from it. Gulp! I have tended to avoid such invitations. I may have the face for radio, but not necessarily the voice. However I realise that it is a valuable addition to the opportunities writers have to promote their work, and maybe I should take the plunge. So, after a mild panic attack, I emailed back to say ‘yes.’ Then settled down for a more serious panic session. More constructively, I started to think about what to do in preparation. Here’s what I’ve thought about so far. I would welcome other suggestions – bearing in mind I’...
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Telling Stories.

Orwell
This month a statue of Eric Blair (1903 – 1950) will be unveiled in front of BBC Broadcasting House in London, where he worked briefly as a producer during the second world war. Blair is better known as George Orwell the author of, among other books, Animal Farm and 1984 – two excellent short novels about truth and power. The books are still popular and, after President Trump’s spokeswoman re-phrased lies as ‘alternative facts,’ sales of 1984 were reported to have increased by nearly one thousand per cent in the US. Orwell was an old Etonian idealist, turned realist, who enlisted on the Republican side in 1936 to fight during the Spanish Civil War. He quickly became disillusioned by the lies...
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It’s only a novel!

ghost
On my last blog I quoted from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey on the (over) use of the word ‘nice.’ Having re-read that section in order to write the blog, I decided to re-read the whole book. It is a spoof on the ‘Gothic’ novels that were fashionable at the time (often written by ‘lady novelists’) and there’s plenty of gentle humour in it. So, being easily scared, it’s my ideal reading material for Halloween. Jane Austen, may not have been keen on what she saw as the overblown writing of some of her contemporaries, but she was proud to be a writer of novels herself and, in Northanger Abbey, she offers up a robust defence of novels and novelists, that is still relevant today, (How many people...
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Cover Reveal - Mark Miller


Mark Miller's first novel is coming home to MillerWords after 10 years. Originally written in 2007 and first published in 2008, the YA fantasy adventure is the first story of The Empyrical Tales saga. Coming November 10, 2017, this special revised edition is available with new formatting and a new cover design. Journey of the Fourth Queen Empyrical Tales Book I by Mark Miller About the Book: Where do fairytale princesses go after their happily ever after? The land of Empyrean is home to all the myths and folklore of childhood. The princesses of once upon a time became the four great queens of this land ruled by magic. Now their land is in danger. One of the queens has disappeared. Without th...
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A very nice blog today?

Jane Austen
  Writers sometimes strain to use different words when plain and simple is just fine. A common error is to seek desperately for different ways of indicating speech: I shouted / he screamed / she bellowed / they wailed / we whispered … None of these is wrong, but too many (especially the more elaborate), can distract from the dialogue. Indeed, there is nothing wrong, and plenty right about the humble – ‘she said’. The reader can concentrate on the dialogue, but is clear about which character is speaking. Alternatively, the speech can stand alone, and the follow-up phrase can indicate who is speaking, and the tone in which it was spoken. ‘“I see you have thrown out my mother’s photo.” Only the...
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Let’s talk peace!

roman soldier
Leafing through my Latin dictionary (as one does) I came across the word pax. I think we all know that the word has something to do with peace, as opposed to war. These days the word is largely used in reference to children’s games: ‘Pax’ as in wanting to call an end to a game, or declare immunity from any consequences of a game. The word is often called out while crossing fingers, and /or holding up one’s hands. Even in this context, the word has an old fashioned feel to it, and doesn’t appear much in the dialogue of modern books for children. Pax is still to be found as part of a Latin tag in more literary or historical books. For example: Pax Romana – the long peace of the Roman Empire br...
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Anthology or collection?

solstice logo (1)
Tom Hanks, the movie star sometimes dubbed the ‘all round nicest guy in Hollywood,’ has just published a collection of short stories, called Uncommon Type – some stories. And – really quite annoyingly for those who like popular figures to have feet of clay – it’s been well received by the critics. Not content with being a household name as an actor, the man is now going to be hailed as a writer of considerable talent too. Short stories have increased in popularity recently and his new publication won’t have set back this resurgence. But why is Mr Hanks book of short stories called a collection and not an anthology? My Collins dictionary describes an anthology as ‘any printed collection of li...
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Review for Murray Pura


For immediate release: Author's new book receives a warm literary welcome. Readers' Favorite announces the review of the Poetry - Inspirational book "Petals" by Murray Pura, currently available at  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0998298654 . Readers' Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies. "...
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Meet author Josie Montano

Josie 1
Josie Montano is an award-winning author, and has just released her sixtieth book in over 20 years within the publishing industry. She has been internationally published, translated into Italian, and writes under two pseudonyms – fiction under the name of Montano, and resources on Autism under the name Santomauro. Josie also dabbles in freelance having had a variety of differing articles and regular columns published. Her play ‘The Great Escape, Italian Style’ trod the boards at the Gympie Rush Festival. She has contributed to technical handbooks, narrative scripts as well as co-edited an international journal. She has been short-listed for a variety of literary awards and acquired many achi...
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Could you punch a puppy?

cauchy
We’ll get onto puppies in a minute. First I want to talk about clichés and jargon. A cliché, in case you need reminding, is any word or expression that has lost much of its force through overuse. The word comes from the French – clicher – to stereotype. Jargon is specialised language for self selecting groups etc, often characterised by pretentious syntax or vocabulary. (Possibly from the Latin or old French for ‘confused talk’.) The language of business is full of clichés and jargon. Some phrases, that might have sounded quite fresh and clever at the first conference where they were used – going for the low hanging fruit was an original concept once – soon become another piece of overused j...
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Interview - Flora Reigada


MillerWords had a chance to visit with Flora Reigada a little while ago. Now that her second release with MW is in full swing, we wanted to go back and visit her first book, Where Your Heart Meets God's. A little about Flora: She is an award winning journalist from New York. She currently lives in Florida where she continues to contribute articles with her husband/photographer. Where Your Heart Meets God's is a devotional filled with a lot of research and spiritual exploration, not to mention, plenty of pearls and nuggets. MW: Let's start off with a personal question. Considering your devotional is an examination of Christian beliefs, are you a life-long Christian? And how have your beliefs ...
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