Category Archives: Work

Time Marches On

I absolutely cannot believe that the first month of 2017 has come and gone without my accomplishing a quarter of my plans. The end of January every year seems to come with many frustrations – mostly with my own shortcomings.

But today is the start of a new month, and I’m resolved to accomplish something on my to-do list this week.

Good news!  The ACFW New Release list is out.

February 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Biblical:redeeming-graceRedeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith — When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it. (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Biblical Romance:building-benjaminBuilding Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton — Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife. As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her own tribe. (Biblical Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Contemporary Romance:grace-and-the-rancherGrace and the Rancher by Mary Alford — Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

capturing-beauty Capturing Beauty by Brenda S. Anderson — Photographer Haven Carlysle is a changed man. He returns to Duluth to capture the North Shore’s beauty … and to recapture the love of his son. But that means making amends with his ex-girlfriend too. Enter Callie Beaumont. All her life, Callie has longed to work outdoors soaking up God-breathed beauty, and the opportunity is finally on the horizon. But being the liaison between the handsome photographer and his son has thrown her dreams, and her heart, into chaos. Can Haven capture her heart when she won’t let him capture her image? And will his poor choices cost Callie her dream job and him the love of his son? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

the-lawman's -secret-sonThe Lawman’s Secret Son by Lorraine Beatty — Suddenly a Father Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there’s no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie’s past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she’s worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she’s found…or risk losing everything. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

maybe-it's-youMaybe It’s You by Candace Calvert — Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive ER nurse, Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past. Can hope spring from crisis? (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

a-second-chanceA Second Chance by Alexis Goring — Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with her “best friend,” Traci resigned herself to being a bachelorette for life. Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. But his widowed sister Gina Braxton appreciates his compassion and kindness, since she’s raising her two kids alone. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, Traci and Marc find hope for their broken hearts. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

the-amish-wandererThe Amish Wanderer by Laura V. Hilton — After her daed, the bishop, is admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community, Bethany Weiss is ready to get away from Jamesport, MO—and away from God. Silas Beiler, dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, is hitchhiking toward Pennsylvania in hopes of stability. He sleeps in barns where he can and works for food when possible. When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago, full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Can their old love overcome both this new pain and the hurt and rejection of their past? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

avalancheAvalanche by Gayla K. Hiss — Set in the North Cascades National Park of Washington State, Avalanche is the inspirational story of one man set on revenge and the woman who risks everything to help him find the fugitive who killed his partner. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

the-doctor's-texas-babyThe Doctor’s Texas Baby by Deb Kastner — When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina’s two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn’t deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina’s not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

spring-raineSpring Raine by Delia Latham — A last-minute decision sends a young woman to a seaside community and lodging at Paradise Pines…where life takes a whole new path. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

finding-joyFinding Joy by Melanie D. Snitker — A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. He returns to his family’s ranch, the scars on his face a daily reminder of all he’s lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers. Only deep desperation could force Chelsea Blake to work on a cattle ranch. But if she’s going to avoid her parents’ judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker’s efforts at forcing her to leave. Surprisingly alike, will the two set aside their disapproval to find immeasurable joy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General Fiction:the-secret-heartThe Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu — After a whirlwind romance, beautiful Shawna Moore marries Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee. Now, she wonders if the governor ever loved her or only hoped to avoid a scandal. In this modern re-imagining of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David, an investigative reporter is asking questions–the wedding took place only six weeks following the death of Shawna’s first husband in Iraq. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection, as well as Shawna’s reputation, will be ruined. But keeping their secret is destroying their marriage. Will Hunter’s choice mean the end of his political career or his family? (General Fiction from Write Integrity Press)

home-at-lastHome at Last by Deborah Raney — All her life, Shayla Michaels, owner of the Coffee’s On bakery, has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite–well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts? Everything changes one icy morning when Portia runs into the street and Link Whitman nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with Shayla. Can they overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? (General Fiction from Abingdon Press)

baggage-claimBaggage Claim by Cathe Swanson — When Ben Taylor, widower and single dad, gets caught up in a dangerous insurance fraud network, he has to learn to take a stand for right – and make a leap of faith: can he trust his nanny – who isn’t quite what she appears to be – and his newly-discovered biological father to hide and protect his four young children? (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:the-matchmaker-brides-collectionThe Matchmaker Brides Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens and Liz Tolsma — Meet nine women of the late 1800s who have found themselves in the role of matchmaker. They think they have mastered the art of recognizing romantic potential in others, but when it comes to their own lives they have been unlucky in love. In small communities from Tennessee to Colorado, Wyoming to Indiana, love unexpectedly enters the women’s lives with men they never imagined marrying. But what will it take to get these ladies to say “I do”? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Viscount’s Proposal by Melanie Dickerson — Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents–or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage–alone and after dark–the ensuing gossip may force them together.Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety and he certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged. Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career–and his life. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze — When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her… Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

shine-like-the-dawnShine like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky — In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. An even which…might not have been an accident. When Nathaniel Harcourt returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor, he also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend. Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah)

the-bounty-hunter's-babyThe Bounty Hunter’s Baby by Erica Vetsch — Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he’s left with a criminal’s baby to care for, he’s in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby’s outlaw father? Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch–until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together–if she’ll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Thriller/Suspense:raging-stormRaging Storm by Vannetta Chapman — When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her diabetic teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows Carter can’t survive without insulin–and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it. Shelby’s best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won’t let her make the journey alone. Together, they reach the capital–only to discover that Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy. Now the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive. (Thriller/Suspense from Harvest House Publishers)

Speculative:long-time-goneTime Search by Danele J. Rotharmel — While the TEMCO staff searches for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for his targets–it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first! (Speculative/Time Travel Fiction from Prism Book Group)

Western Romance:long-time-goneLong Time Gone by Mary Connealy — Rancher Justin Boden is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on. With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine? (Western Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

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New Job Description

Even though I’m well past retirement age, I still work 25 hours a week at our local print shop. My tasks have been to man the front desk, answer the phone, handle basic customer service, create page layouts, assist with finish work…   You get the picture.

Now I have a new job. We have a new, 24/7 website where you can design and order your printing online. It isn’t completed with all our products, but you can design your own business cards, letterhead, invitations, note cards, or posters, then you upload the files, and we print them.

It’s my job to spread the word, update the Facebook page, and generally handle our internet presence.  We’ll see how that goes.

I’d appreciate it if you would check us out at dumondprinting.com and let me know in the comments below what you think of our website. Please be advised that our gift page is not yet completed, so you’ll need to check that out later.

I look forward to your input.

 

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Together?

My friend, Shirley Corder, posted this on Facebook.

“Words of wisdom for a new year. Let’s work together this year to make it a success. Where do we start?”

Where to start is an interesting question.  How do we manage to work together with diverse people, some of whom we may not like at all?

After all, there is the co-worker who continually drums his/her fingers on the desk while talking with you. You can’t hear what he/she is saying for the throbbing. And when you’re finished with the conversation, you have developed a screaming headache.

Then there is the naysayer, the person who always throws cold water on any suggestion you might make.

And we have the whiner, the person who knows someone who tried this and had terrible results.

Moreover there is the constant talker, the one who never hears anything anyone else says.

Enough already!

There is a way to overcome these obstacles, but we have to go back to the beginning.  “In the beginning, God…”  God is our answer, not in some distant esoteric way, but in a very tangible way. The trick is to see what God sees in that person.

God designed each of us with a purpose in mind. He has a plan for your life and mine. His plans for my life have not yet been fulfilled, and I’m willing to bet that your life is in a similar state of incompleteness. But God sees us through the lens of His Son and His plans for us. He doesn’t consider our faults and shortcomings as part of His finished product.

Now, all we need do is ask Him to let us see others as He sees them. He sees them, as well as us, through the eyes of a loving father. Despite our infidelities to His purpose, He loves us still. He loves them as well.

God doesn’t shine a floodlight on our faults and foibles. He illuminates them one by one so that we can amend them.  There is an old saying “Life is hard by the yard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” So He lets us take one step at a time toward becoming who He intended us to be. We need to extend that same patience and grace to others.

If we can learn to see others as God sees them, I believe we will be able to work together successfully. At least it’s a start.

Do you agree? or not?

 

 

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Change and Dilemma

I keep wondering who is in charge of the changes in our culture. So many things that used to denote one thing are now used to define something entirely different.

For example, my business card for Reflected Light Ministries features a rainbow.  As a child I was taught that the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise to Noah never to destroy the entire world with flood again. (You will see the irony when you learn that I grew up in a rural Kansas community that billed itself as The Flood Capital.)

God’s light reflecting on suspended raindrops creates the rainbow.  I would hope people would see only that in the rainbow on my card.

However, the rainbow of diversity and the LGBT community has usurped that common understanding of the rainbow.  Some of my friends have overlaid their Facebook profile pictures with the six color bands of red, orange, yellow, blue, green and violet.  They did so in joyous response to the supreme court ruling that same-sex marriage must be recognized in all states. That is their prerogative.

That decision grieved my spirit. I fear that God really meant what he said in some of the scriptures which prohibit homosexuality. Take for example First Corinthians Chapter 6, Verses 9 and 10:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Please also notice that it does not stop with homosexuality. It includes promiscuity and adultery, as well as those who put other things ahead of God, those who steal, those who are envious, those who drink to excess, those who speak harshly of others, and those who extort money. A whole bunch of us can fall into those categories.  I am extremely grateful that God is forgiving and merciful.

But you will notice that none of those other activities have  been approved by the laws of the land. Therein lies the difference and the source of my dismay.

That does not mean, however, that I cannot like and respect individuals who have made that choice. I can name several people for whom I have both respect and affection who live that way.  I’m not here to judge.

So what do I do? I do not want my rainbow confused with theirs. Mine does not carry a connotation of approval of these alternate lifestyles.  My belief system will not allow me to approve them.

But back to the card. Do I change my design because of the double meaning of the rainbow?

Let me know in the comments, please.

Thanks for listening to my dilemma.

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Writing Is a Multi-faceted Project

Early in my journey to publication, I ran across Randy Ingermanson.  Well, not actually. I didn’t run him down in my vehicle, but I found his Snowflake project. And I found his novels.

Confession time:  I’ve not read all of them, but his City of God series hooked me from the first sentence. I’m still waiting for the next book in this series.  I’ve not quite forgiven his traditional publisher for not contracting beyond the third book in the series.  Their reasons were quite valid.  Understandable from the accounting point of view, but quite a disappointment for those of us who like to read.

Randy publishes The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine.  It comes sporadically, but I truly enjoy it. He shares valuable information in digestible format with a wry sense of humor.  Here is his “What I’m Reading” book list:

You might be interested in some of the books I’ve been reading recently. Then again, you might think some of them are terribly dull, since I’m still reading a lot of research books.

As always, I’m omitting books I started and didn’t finish. I’m also omitting books that were horrible but I read anyway. (There are certain aspects of the craft of writing that you can only learn by reading really wretched fiction and asking yourself what makes it so bad.)

Here are the ones worth reporting from January:

Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett. This is Book 3 in the Century Trilogy, an incredibly ambitious series that covers most of the 20th century—from World War I up through the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This book covers the Cold War, the Kennedy era, the civil rights movement, Watergate, and the Reagan era through the eyes of the next generation in each of five families—one from Wales, England, Russia, Germany, and the US. I was only 4 when JFK was assassinated, and I was 9 when MLK and RFK were, so it was interesting to get some context on the sixties.

Clutter Free, by Kathi Lipp. Kathi is a friend of mine and she writes better-living books targeted at Christian women. Clutter has been an ongoing problem in my life since approximately forever. My office is a mess right now, so when Kathi told me about her book, I had to get it. I hope to see results when I start applying her ideas. (January has been travel month and tax accounting month for me, so it wasn’t a great time for me to take on anything new.)

The Powers That Be, by Walter Wink. This was a research book for me. It’s a summary of three famous books that Walter Wink wrote on the “principalities and powers” mentioned in the New Testament. What are these spooky “powers” and how can any self-respecting person in the 21st century believe in such things? Walter Wink wrestled with these questions and found an answer that makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t think it’s the whole answer, but I’d say he’s given a big part of it.

How God Became King, by N.T. Wright. This is yet another research book for me. Wright’s main thesis is that the New Testament gospels are each the story of how God became king. And what is that supposed to mean? It would take a whole book to explain. Wright’s book is probably the minimal book required for the task. If you’ve ever wondered what is the point of all those stories about water into wine and walking on water and healing lepers, this book is a good start at explaining it.

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, by Kenneth E. Bailey. Still more research for me. Dr. Bailey spent six decades living in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. He’s applied what he knows about middle eastern culture to the stories about Jesus found in the gospels. And he includes comments by the great medieval and modern Christian scholars who wrote in Arabic. Context is important, and this book explains many of the questions that come up when a westerner reads the gospels. One of the strangest parables Jesus told was of an embezzling servant whose master commended him for his theft. Huh? What’s up with that? There’s a simple explanation that makes good sense to me.

That’s all for January. One novel, one self-help, and three nonfiction research books. Next month, I need to read some more fiction.

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
 
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 11,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

I find this kind of information helpful. Look at the proportions in his list.  Twenty percent just because of interest; twenty percent improve your life; and sixty percent task oriented for the job of writing.  This is something I can emulate – and perhaps reap some of the same rewards.

Do you have a favorite site or newsletter that gives you inspiration, information and general pleasure?  Share it in the comments.

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Vision

Proverbs 29:18  (KJV)  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

I’ve known this scripture for years, and I always thought it was talking about two different things.

Today, however, I recognized the equation. Vision is equal to keeping the law.

So often we struggle with what we are to do, where we are to go, which commitments to undertake. We forget the simple answer. Lay it up against the law. If it fits, it’s appropriate for us to undertake.

There is a further test. As we line our lives up along side the law to verify that we are on the right track, we can sift the calls on our time and energy through the sieve of purpose. What is our purpose? What do we want to accomplish within the vision of the law?

We make some things more complicated that they ought to be. Keeping the law is simple – always.

Easy?  Sometimes not  so easy.

But when you live with the world view that things are either right or wrong, black or white,  you don’t get caught up in the multiple shades of gray.

Our computers are built on the simple idea of “off/on”.  Despite the multiplicity of tasks they perform, it’s either off or on, yes or no, black or white.

What decisions do you struggle with today?  What is the vision of where you are going?

 

 

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Excellence Requires an Edit

I am so frustrated this morning.

Among the blogs I read on a semi-regular basis, most of them are by writers for writers. This morning, one of my regular reads was quite disappointing. It is riddled with grammatical errors. At first I tried to justify those errors by assuming the writer was taking on the verbiage of a character in a novel. However, it soon became apparent that was not the case. It left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Another thing I found this last week or so is that one of my favorite words has changed spelling.  I can now say “they ran amuck.”  But it hurts not to spell it “amok”.

Precision in language is a delicate thing. It can be the difference between a work that sends us soaring into another world and a slow trudge through the mire.

Do you have a pet peeve where grammar is concerned?  Leave a comment so that we can commiserate.

 

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