Monthly Archives: January 2013

Did you know? Take 2!


Hello! It’s time for another Did You Know?! I love these things. If you ever have suggestions or would like to submit a Did You Know of your own, don’t be shy! You can email me at and I’ll compile. Let’s share knowledge 🙂

Today’s DYK comes from a leaflet my grandmother used to get from the community news…

Life in the 1500’s…

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water, The man of the house got the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the woman and finally the children. Last were the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.

House had thatched roofs (thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath). It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals lived int he roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. And there you have “It’s raining cats and dogs”.

Here are a few more to chew on…

Wing it! In the time of Shakespeare this referred to quickly studying lines in the wings of the theater before going onstage.

Throwing in the towel! This originated with boxing. The towels were used to wipe a fighter’s face in the ring. So if the manager threw in the towel the fighter had had enough and was done.

And there you have it! Come back tomorrow for a taste of some fiction writing by Sara Elwood!

Say what? Mixed words


I told you last time that I would give you a list of words to look for when you are editing your manuscript. This is by no means a complete list – it’s just ones that I come across the most often. When you go to look for them, if you are using a Word type document, do a “find” and check the sentence out. If you want to get really fancy, you can do more by doing a find/replace and put the plain word in the first level, then the same word, but formatted with highlighting in the second line, then “replace all”. This will highlight all instances of the word. Just a note of warning, though—if you are looking for a word like “till”, which is included in the word “still”, the computer will also highlight all those words so be sure to click on the “find whole words only” box so you find only the word you want. There may still be glitches, but this will fix most of them. Please note that the following usages are ones that conform to the publishers I work for and may be different for different houses.

Affect vs. effect – affect is a verb that means to bring about a change; effect is a noun that means the result. Thus, A affects B; but A has an effect on B. Clear as mud, I know.

Aggravate – means to make worse. Do not use as a synonym for annoy or bother.

Alright vs. all right – the second (two words) is preferable

Among/between – among means more than two people; between involves only two people.

Awhile vs. a while – awhile is two words (a while) when preceded by a preposition (for a while)

Compliment vs. complement – compliment (with the i) means an express of esteem: He complimented her on her gown. Complement (with the e) means to enhance: The scarlet scarf and gloves complemented her pale coloring.

Each other vs. one another – use each other in statements involving only two people: the man and woman comforted each other. Use one another in places with three or more people: The teammates consoled one another after their loss.

Farther vs. further – farther (far) is actual, physical distance: we walked farther into the forest. Further is virtual distance: this argument can go no further.

Gray vs. grey – Gray with the ‘a’ is American. Grey with the ‘e’ is British (English).

Lead vs. led – Lead (rhymes with red) is a type of heavy metal. (The xray room is lined with lead.) Lead (rhymes with seed) means to go in front of and direct others. (He will lead us through the building.) Led (rhymes with red) is the past tense of directing someone (He led us through the building.)

Lightening vs. lightning – the first is a brightening of light (he turned on the lamps, brightening the room); the second is a flash of light accompanying a storm (Lightning flashed across the sky followed by deafening thunder).

Like vs. as if – Like is not a conjunction and should not be used as such. If you can substitute “as if” in the sentence, do so: It sounds like (as if) he meant to do that.

Ly-  (as in mildly-funny) – no hyphen. Do not hyphenate compound adjectives that include adverbs (ly).

Made to vs. forced to – if the meaning is ‘forced’, then than is what needs to be used: He was forced to (not made to) kneel.

Of – as in off of/inside of/outside of – no ‘of’ when possible. If you can read the sentence and it makes sense without the ‘of’ then delete the ‘of’.

Then vs. than – then is an indicator of time: Caesar came, then he conquered. Than is a choice: I’d rather have an apple to eat than a lemon.

Till vs ‘til – till is a place to keep money; ‘til is the abbreviation for until and should be used as such: We waited ‘til he showed up.

Try and vs. try to – in almost all cases, this should be “try to”: We should try to meet up this afternoon.

You and I vs. you and me – should be “you and I”. If you can delete the ‘you’ and read the sentence with I or me, which one works better?  You and I can go shopping tomorrow. (I can go shopping tomorrow.)

Wards (backwards, frontwards, forwards, towards, downwards, upwards, etc.) – no ‘s’ for American spelling

Wrack vs. rack – wrack is to wreck something. Rack is to torture or cause pain. The ship was wracked upon the rocks. I racked my brain to come up with a good excuse.

There are a lot more – and I encourage you to add to this list! But this is enough to get you started. J

Vicky Burkholder





Tricksy Tuesday


So we had Techy Tuesday, now how about Tricksy Tuesday?

Some tricks to help you out if you’re stuck…

Let’s say a scene isn’t going so well (or a painting or a song). Take a walk, clear your head, sing something silly like Baa Baa Black Sheep. Free up those brain cells with something that doesn’t require a lot of thinking and then get back down to it.

How about if you’re really stuck? Try going at it from a broad perspective and then narrow, narrow, narrow until you distill it to the essence of what you want to say. Broad picture could be you want him to kiss the girl. Where are they? How can he get his lips on her? What are they doing before? Why now when not before?

Play the WHAT IF game? This is one of my favorites because you can be as ridiculous as you want to be. What if spaceships came down and threatened him that if he didn’t kiss the girl they had a probe with his name on it? What if he reaches around her to get something out of the cabinet and she misinterprets his actions and stands on tip toe to match him? What if he comes in for the big lip smacker and she turns her head to cough? What if…

Another great one is to think of all the things that couldn’t possibly happen and in that way run right into what should happen.  He couldn’t possibly be running at full steam, trying to save a kite from blowing away and accidentally railroad into her embrace. Or could he? She couldn’t possibly think he’s coming to tell her he thinks she needs to change her deodorant only to have him kiss her into silence because she’s being ridiculous. Or could she?

Play with it. Writing, and really anything creative, should be fun or at least enjoyable in some manner. If it’s not then make it so and tell that spaceship to go take a hike!

Wordy Wednesday…Coming up!


Music: SHINE ON!


Hey there blog readers!!! Today marks our first guest at The Whole Shebang Site and hopefully the first of many! I am beyond pleased to introduce you to my brother, and fantastic musician, Shine Delphi. Now that I in Delphi is long like Pie, which I love. Pull up a chair, get comfy and get to know Shine and his music. Let’s give him a big round of Hi and how are you 🙂

Shine DelphiFirst off, how would you describe your sound?

My sound is a mixture of all the music I’ve loved throughout my life. As a teenager, I was as metal as you could get, but as I got older my taste changed and I started to fall in love with many different styles from jazz to soul to funk to pop. My Grandparents always listened to music from the swing era when I was growing up and I think that had quite an influence on me as well.

What inspires you to write music?

Life. Love. Emotions. All things are inspiring in their own way. Sometimes the most depressing moment can show a shimmer of light that pulls you through. I’m always looking for that light. Music has always been my outlet for the things I couldn’t just say.
Do you come up with the music or the words first?
I never do the same thing. Sometimes the words come first, but I would have to say I’m more partial to the songs where the words came after the music. The words just seem to fit nicer when I just start singing to a piece of music I’m writing. It causes me to flow my ideas instead of sitting and thinking hard about what I want to say, I just say it. But I have had success with both forms.
Do you have a favorite song of yours?
I like a lot of the new stuff I’m writing. I can’t say I have a favorite. All of my music seems important to me because each new song allows me the chance to get better at what I love and every song has its moment in time that makes it special.

Who would you consider an influence on your music?
I feel as if I am influenced by everyone. When I listen to any song I feel influenced by it. Sometimes songs influence me to not want to write a song like that (hahaha) but most of the time even in songs that aren’t my cup of tea, I can find something about it that I like. Maybe they modulated to a different key or maybe the lyrics are very deep or maybe it’s just really damn catchy and I can’t get it out of my head!!! Even people who aren’t musical influence my music, teachers, friends, the old man on the bus who talks to himself. I’m always listening and watching, therefore, I feel as if I’m influenced by it all.

Tell me something quirky about yourself.
Hmmmm quirky??? I fall asleep with me head at the top of the bed, but when I wake up I’m on the roof in a penguin hat and frilly laced boxers. Is that quirky enough? (Misty here: I can totally vouch that this is true and it is quirky! LOL!)
What do you aim to make people feel when they listen to your music?
I hope they smile. I hope they laugh. Sometimes I even want them to get choked up, mostly I just want them to feel the emotion I felt when I wrote the song.

What’s next for you and when can I expect a new CD?
I’m currently recording my new CD and I hope to release it by April. I’ve been putting up little tasters as I record it, though, so you can expect some more new songs to hit the airwaves before the actual release :)))))

Do you sing in the shower?
Only when no one else is there :)))))
Thanks for coming to The Whole Shebang Site, Shine. There were some things in here even I didn’t know!
If you want to know more about Shine or sample his music, please look at the below links. I love his music and I hope you will too.
Like Shine on facebook at
Listen and watch him on reverbnation at Shine Delphi



Yeehaw! The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived! It’s like giving birth without all the messiness or crying 🙂 What’s Life Without the Sprinkles? is here and ready to be downloaded to your favorite ereader or sent to your home for that tactile goodness that is a paperback!

Cake maker and single mom Claudia Bradley thinks she has life all figured out — until her best friend Nate starts looking like a mouth-watering dessert and her son’s father comes strolling back into the picture as if he’d never left ten years ago. Throw in a case of preteen angst and a family with lots of well-meant advice, and, well, she’s whipping up a recipe for chaos!

Nate West has always been there for Claudia, a basic ingredient in her life, but suddenly she is flirting outrageously with him when she’s never looked that way at him before — despite his dreams. With her ex-lover back in town, Nate isn’t about to renege on his years-old promise to always be the friend Claudia needs, but does she want more?

She’s as tempting as butter cream frosting with sprinkles, and he’s mighty tempted…

Run to The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and get it while it’s hot!

Did YOU know?!?


Ever wondered where certain phrases come from? I always do 🙂 I love to know the origins of phrases, especially the ones that we use every day without knowing where they started. So let’s get knowledgeable! My brother got me a set of cards called The Origin of Expressions, which I love, so I’ll be using some of those too.

Ever been called the whipping boy? That’s generally used when someone is regularly the one who gets blamed even if it’s not their fault. This originated from the time of monarchs in Europe. Misbehaving young princes had servant boys to take beatings for them when they were to be punished. I wonder if they ate their peas for them too!

Do you tell your loved ones to sleep tight? Bed frames were made with ropes pulled tightly between the frame rails to support a mattress long ago. If the ropes got loose the mattress sagged and was uncomfortable.

That’s hogwash! This has to do with untruths or nonsense. Hogwash was kitchen food scraps and liquids people would feed to their pigs. So it’s hogwash.

For all you lefties out there: South paw – In the early days of baseball, the standard field was set up so that center field was to the east and the batter looked west. The pitcher’s left side was on his south side, hence south paw!

Do you have one? Show me your know- what-for by posting something that everyone says that perhaps they don’t know where it came from.

I’ll leave you with one more.Top Banana – this one comes from a popular comedy skit during the period of burlesque shows where the main comedian was given a banana after delivering the joke’s punch line.

As a side note: if you want to see someone who puts on a great show, Jason Manns will be performing on – a great way to see a concert from the comfort of your home. Check him out Saturday!

I’ll tell you where to put that comma!


For those who don’t know it yet, in addition to being a writer, in my real life I am a copy editor. That means I’m the person who tells you when you’ve misspelled a word, used a word incorrectly, or used incorrect punctuation. I also make sure you are consistent in your characters and settings and that your research is accurate. What I do not do is look at the big picture. I don’t do plot lines, though if something is really off, I will point it out.

I currently work as a contractor for two publishers as well as private clients. In the past few years, I’ve edited nearly 200 fiction works, 250 non-fiction technical manuals, and even a couple of college text books. Am I an expert? Not by a long shot. Yes, I can spot more than most people, but it is a job that is always changing as the requirements of separate houses or clients change. However, there are some things that are a constant, and that’s what I’m going to address in this article.


One of the things I have to check on for everything I edit is formatting. Though separate publishers often require different styles, most look for certain things. These include extra spaces in front of paragraphs, extra spaces at the end of sentences or extra spaces between sentences. Every house I know of currently requires only one space after periods, not the two most of us grew up with. Also, most require tab indentations and not space indentations at the beginning of paragraphs. All three of these things are easy to search for. If you’re using MS Word, you can search for extra spaces at the beginning of paragraphs by bring up the “Find/Replace” menu and in the first block, type in ^p(space) (put a space in after the p). Replace with ^p (no space after the p). And replace all. To make sure you don’t have an extra space at the end of a sentence, use (space)^p for the find line, then (no space)^p for replace. Finally, for too many spaces between sentences, do a find for two spaces and replace with one space.


Check the names of your characters and make sure you’ve spelled them all the same and that you haven’t given all – or even several – characters names that start with the same letter or sound the same. Also, unless you’ve given good reasons for the change, make sure they look the same at the end as they did at the beginning (blond hair/blue eyes should not suddenly be auburn/green).

Time Lines

Check the times that things happen, and not just the days/weeks/months. I had one author who was having trouble seeing in the dark at 8 p.m. in July (yes, in the U.S.). I’m sorry, but it is not full dark at 8 p.m. in the middle of summer. Winter, yes, but not summer. Another author had a character getting a call at 7 a.m., getting picked up at 8 a.m., and after an hour car trip, she was having lunch at high noon, and an hour later, the sun was setting. Watch out for your times.

Next time, I’ll give you a list of words to look out for.

Vicky Burkholder

The beginning of Techy Tuesday!


Welcome to The Whole Shebang Site first and foremost! I hope you find what we’re doing here to be fun and exciting and informational all at the same time. I know that’s a lot to ask for, but why not reach for the stars then be happy to at least see the clouds?

So here’s the first Techy Tuesday where we will bring you some info about shortcuts and tips and tricks on all things techy. I’m going to write the first one but I hope to eventually rope my husband (who is an IT professional) into doing some more in depth material.

Let’s get started with some simple stuff.

Who doesn’t like to find things easily? Are you looking for a word or phrase in a document? Press Ctrl and F and the Find window will pop up. Voila!

What about cutting and pasting? Got a chunk of text you want to move elsewhere or a graphic that needs to be moved several pages away? Ctrl+X to cut, Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste. Easy peasey, lemon squeezy!

What if you want to lock down your system? Hit the Windows key and L.

Need to see what is running and why on earth it isn’t running right? Ctrl+Alt+Delete will get you there on time with little to no hassle.

I will leave you with those on this our first sojourn into the Techy World, a distance place with many unspoken rules. If you have tips and tricks –  share, share, share! Or contact me through the Give Us A Holler page and I’d love to have you teach us a few things.

I admit most of these are PC/Windows tricks because I’ve never touched a Mac, so if you have Mac tips bring them on!

Until Wordy Wednesday, my lovely ones – Misty

There’s No Time Like Prime Time


PRIME TIME was one of my first books and has always been my favorite. It’s been published by two separate publishers, but is currently out of print and available only from Aaron’s Books in Lititz, PA. (Though there may be other copies floating around in various places.) I have always loved science fiction stories and romance stories and combining the two of them just seemed like the perfect solution. I’m guessing others agreed as PRIME TIME received 4 – 5 star reviews from every place that reviewed it, including Romantic Times Magazine.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a new story, an urban fantasy that I am in love with. I’ve also got at least a dozen other novels and novellas that are done and just waiting for me to edit them and get them ready to send out. But it all takes time. Time I don’t always have.  In talking with my writing friends, I hear the same story from them as well. Whether agented, contracted, published, or still waiting, we all face the same wall at some time. Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I giving up sleep, television, other activities I enjoy just so I can write?

The answer is, because we are writers. Because we can’t stop. Yes, it is an addiction. And obsession. Something inside that drives us to create. But we also need to learn to temper creativity with common sense.  In the meantime, there’s this other story I have an idea for…



When it comes to righting wrongs, there’s no time like Prime Time.

Deena is a Prime, born and raised to Porter parents in the Lunar habitats. Life is hard, but with a rag-tag group of friends, she gets by.

Jake is a wealthy Techie, part of an elite security force searching out the source of the deadly drug Utopia. He can’t imagine the hardships Deena and other Porters have endured and is determined to make a difference.

Deenareluctantly teams up with the hunky Techie. With the help of other Primes, both realize that not only is the danger to them all far more deadly than Jake and his team first imagined, but that love doesn’t care about class and status. Can they stop the seemingly untouchable Utopia suppliers before time runs out for them all?

For other books of mine that are in print or available, please check out my website found here.

Getting Started


Hello and how are you? We are starting this new site to showcase all the many forms and beauties of books, music and art. This can be your home for tips and tricks on writing and editing. A home to find new and exciting musicians. A place to view art in its many forms. Pull up a chair, rest your weary feet and get your art on!

Misty and Vicky