Monthly Archives: April 2013

Books: Cornelia Amiri!


162010_96303966919_323517_nWhat genre do your books fall into or is it a genre blended? My dancing vampire series is Paranormal /Erotica/Romance though it is a it of a genre blends as it’s the vampires are Celtic vampiric fey.  I also write Celtic/Romances and Steampunk/Romances.

What inspires you to write?

Celtic myth and legend is a big inspiration to me. My Dancing Vampire series is inspired by the baobhan sith (bah von shee) from Scottish folk lore. They are Celtic vampiric-fey. They are always female and their victims are always males. They dance with their victims until the men are exhausted. These vampiric fey’s fingernails then transform to talons. The baobhan sith then claw the unsuspecting men’s backs and drink their blood

Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing?

 I like to listen to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen when I write.

Do you come up with the plot or characters first? It changes for me, on some books it’s characters first and others it’s plot first. Once I visual the main characters in my head, see their images clearly, the dialogue starts to flow in my mind. It’s like I’ve met them and no they letting me ease drop on their conversations with each other.

Do you have a favorite book of yours?

Druidess is my personal favorite, because it includes the Druid Center at Anglesey and Boudica, they and the historical events that occurred with them had a deep effect on me and for many years I wanted to write about them and share their story with others

Who would you consider an influence on your writing?

Morgan Llewellyn and Marion Zimmer Bradley are the strongest influence. I also love and am blown away by Cecelia Holland, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, J. R. R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Don Coldsmith, Rosemary Edghill, Teresa Mederios, Anya Seton, Judith Merkle Riley, and Tim powers.

Tell me something quirky about yourself.

 I’m a Steampunk fan and I dress up in an a Steamgytianpunk outfit to match my Steampunk persona.

What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books?

 I want my books to whisk the readers away to another life, another time, another world, bring them laughter and romance and a great adventure.

What’s next for you?

The next book in my Dancing Vampire series is One Dance With A Vampire. While roaming the Scottish highlands, the vampiric fey, Charlak, and  the man she danced with and attacked a year ago, Angus, meet again. Angus’s heart pounds and his breath grows shallow, the same reaction he had when he saw her a year ago, before she tried to drain his blood. He begs her for just one dance, before she returns underhill.

She gives Angus one dance but gets so much more. The dance turns into desire, which deepens into love for both of them. While they struggle with past pain and raging passion, their love is forbidden by their families, fearing they will harm each other. Will his brothers and her sisters waylaid Charlak and Angus’s happiness? Will Charlak leave everything…her home, her sisters, the fey realm…for love?

Do you sing in the shower?

I sang in the car to the radio, I rock out. I probably scare the other drivers.

eversobonnieavampire_msr (3)Here’s a blub to my new release, Ever So Bonnie A Vampire:

Third in the Dancing Vampires series.

Calin has fantasized about Ever’s warm, curvaceous body since dancing with the vampiric fey woman a year ago. When they meet again, he wastes no time in claiming and capturing her. Once the sun rises, Ever can’t leave the earthly realm and is bound by fey lore to Calin. His lovemaking excites her like no fey man’s ever has, but she’s consumed by the vow she made to her sisters—that she would never leave them for a mortal. Fighting her feelings for Calin, Ever seeks help from goddess Morrigan.

The goddess might like to claim the handsome mortal for herself, so she frees Ever to return underhill. It isn’t until Ever is back with her sisters that she realizes her heart is still held captive by Calin. But Calin has spurned a goddess’s attentions…and now Morrigan’s lust has turned to vengeance.

A Romantica®  paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave




Bio: Cornelia Amiri who also write under the name Maeve Alpin is the author of 18 books: Celtic/Romances and Steampunk Romances. She lives in Houston TX with her wonderful son and granddaughter.

Contest: The prize is two PDF eBooks, the first in the Dancing Vampire series, Dance Of The Vampires and Vampire Highland Fling. Please comment below with your email so I can reach you if you win. One winner will be selected.

Word Choice: Weak Words


When we write, we tend to use the same favorite words over and over. Like meatloaf or a well-remembered meal from childhood, they’re comfortable. We know them – know how to spell them and use them. Ah, but does that mean they’re good?

Not necessarily. Just like a favorite dessert, too much of anything is not good. With words, some words that seem perfectly fine are actually weak words that give your writing less impact than it should have.

For instance, Shakespeare didn’t call Katharina a “mean woman”. He called her a “shrew”. When a cat is chasing a mouse, it doesn’t “jump suddenly”; it “pounces”. A teenage boy “wolfs” his food. The words shrew, pounce and wolf are stronger than the lukewarm phrases they replace.

The following chart is by no means complete, but it is a sample of the most overused weak words. Do a search of your manuscript for them and see if you can’t find a better way to say what you have with stronger words.

A little All Almost Always And then
Apparently Anyway Appear As Bad
Beautiful Because Begin/began But Came
Couple Decided to/that Even Exactly Each of
Feel/felt Few Good Great big Give
Have/had In order to Instead of It is/was Just
Kind of Later Little Looked Nice
Nearly Only One of Probably Perhaps
Quite Rather Seemed Should/could Slightly
So Some Sometime Somewhat Sort of
Started to Stuff Suddenly That Then
There is/are/was/were Too Usually Very Was/were
Which (for who) Would Well/oh/now ‘ly’ words ‘ing’ words

I can hear the questions now: “What’s wrong with…?” Okay, I’ll answer some. What’s wrong with “well/oh/now”? Nothing, unless you’re starting a dialogue with them.

Weak: “Now, let’s go shopping.” This may be the way many people talk, but it makes for boring reading. Drop the “Now” and just go shopping.

And watch for “As you know” at the beginning of a dialogue. This usually indicates an information dump.

What’s wrong with words that end in “ly”? They are usually weak adverbs that can be replaced by a stronger verb. An adverb modifies a verb, adjective or other adverb. In the sentence: “She said quietly.” The adverb – quietly – is modifying the verb said by answering the question “how” she said it. “Said quietly” can be replaced with the stronger verb “whispered.” He walked slowly = he ambled. Using the same search tips as you did for “was”, look for “ly” words and replace them, if possible, with stronger verbs. Be careful, though. Not all “ly” words are adverbs. Some are adjectives and can be useful descriptors.

An adjective is a word that describes or limits a noun: only child, identical twin, weighty issue. They usually answer the questions “what kind of” or “how many”. Some adjectives can end in “ly” like an adverb: friendly dog (what kind of dog – friendly).

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to talk about a little thing called a Tom Swiftie. These puns are examples of the type of writing that makes us all groan and shake our heads. They are named for a cartoon character, Tom Swift, originated by Edward Stratemeyer in a series of strips in the 1920’s. Although they can be funny, most are symptomatic of weak writing and should be searched out and destroyed without mercy. Some examples are:

“It’s between my sole and my heel,” Tom said archly.

“I dropped the toothpaste,” Tom said, crestfallen.

“This wind is awful,” Tom blustered.

“That mineral is plutonium,” Tom said glowingly.

Okay, I’ll quit. I can hear the groans now. Take a good look at your tags – have you used adverbs that tell instead of show us the action? Have you, worse yet, used a Tom Swiftie? Get out your red pen and delete those babies (but if they’re really good, hang on to them as examples – writing Tom Swiftie’s can be fun. See how many you can come up with – the worse the pun, the better the Tom Swiftie.)

What about “ing” words? This, like most areas of grammar, is a grey area. Most words that end in these letters are perfectly acceptable. The problem arises when you begin a sentence with them and change them into a gerund – a verb form that is changed into a noun by adding “ing”. They can lead to physically impossible actions.

Weak: Running into the tent, she tore off her jeans.

Better: She ran into the tent and tore off her jeans.

You’re wondering what the difference is? Look at the first one. It reads as if she is tearing her jeans off while she is running – not an easy feat. That sort of action tends to trip a person (no pun intended!). The second one, while not a strong sentence, is better because she first runs into the tent and then removes her jeans – a logical progression of events. (Check the section on logical order.)

In addition to these, look out for any areas where your character wonders, realizes, thinks, remembers, etc. as in: She wondered why she always got stuck with room duty.

These sentences can be made stronger by changing them to an internal dialogue question: Why am I always the one stuck with room duty?

Take a look at your manuscript. Search for weak words and change them into stronger ones.



Mist people and dog, resizedThanks so much for having me here today, Misty!

What inspired you to write your first novel?

I had a nightmare about feral, red-eyed dogs chasing me along a fog-shrouded coastline (I grew up on the Oregon coast). About the same time, I gave birth to my second child. Six months later, my mom passed away. Those three life events swirled together were the catalyst for Mist.

Did you always know your genre would be romance?

I was a member of Romance Writers of America for years and attended various regional and national conferences. I also belonged to a local RWA chapter and an online RWA chapter. So, it was pretty much pre-ordained that romance would make its way into my stories!

What sort of stories do you like to read?

I like to read stories involving relationships – the same kind of stories I like to write. The relationships might be between a man and woman, between a mother and child, or between a grandmother and granddaughter (Mist has all three). I like reading and writing about how people interact with one another.

Has any part of yourself crept into the heroines of any of your romances?

A part of me creeps into every character I write. In the case of Mist, the heroine is loosely based on my mom, although Dianne Harris is a younger, hipper version.

What is the most desirable characteristic you’ve bestowed on the hero of your latest romance?

Kevin McCoffey – the hero of Mist – is tall, muscular and has a sexy southern accent. Definitely all nice qualities, but I think his most attractive characteristic is his desire to take care of others and keep them safe. Because of what happened to his dad when Kevin was a boy, Kevin now has a driving need to be a hero.

Do you think you’ll always write in the same genre and style or do you have desires to experiment and if so, in what way?

Whenever I write fiction, there will be some sort of love story involved. My current WIP (Work In Progress) called Daisies are True is a story of love and magic.

By day I am a freelance writer, reporter and photographer. As such, I also have non-fiction stories to tell, too. I’m also working on some non-fiction, memoir projects – Confessions of a Country Girl – Inspiring Stories of Growing Up Rural, and Kids are a Crack Up – a Slim Volume of Humorous Stories.


Danita Cahill is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer. At age 14 she sold her flute and bought a word processer to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Danita lives in the Pacific NW on a small Oregon farm with her husband, two sons and their animals – a horse, several cats, a couple guinea pigs, a herd of alpacas, and two dogs. Danita stays busy working on newspaper and magazine assignments and her next books.


Go about your lives as usual. Use common sense. Be aware of your surroundings.

Easy for the Roseland Police Chief to say. Not so easy for the community to do. Not when residents of their Oregon coastal town keep vanishing. Who – or what – is snatching citizens? Is it aliens? A serial killer? Or a feral pack of red-eyed dogs? Detective Kevin McCoffey is determined to solve the case.

Young, widowed photographer, Dianne Harris and her infant daughter find themselves face to face with the killers. Kevin races to yank them to safety. But is he too late to save them both?

With help from the ghost of Dianne’s dead grandmother and the town’s fortuneteller, Kevin and Dianne battle their own demons and their shared romantic history as they rush to pry Dianne’s baby from the killer’s grip.

Buy-it links:


Barnes & Noble:


Website link

Miracahills (Miracles blog)

Word Choice: Homonyms and PhD Language



Which witch is which? They’re over there with their parents. To be, or two bee – which is the right question?

Homonyms trip up more writers than any other words. The most common mix-ups are usually those dealing with apostrophes, especially it’s vs. its and they’re/their/there. And you can’t rely on a spell check program to find these errors for you. They aren’t spelled incorrectly – but they are often used incorrectly. Listed below are some of the more common problems:

  • It’s/its: It’s is the contraction for “it is”. If you read your sentence and can substitute “it is” in place of it’s, then you’ve used the correct word, as in: It’s (it is) going to rain. Its is a possessive pronoun meaning something belongs to “it” as in: the dog gnawed its bone.
  • There/their/they’re: There is an indication of place: Put the box over there. Their is a possessive pronoun: It is their car. They’re is a contraction for “they are” as in: They’re (they are) going to be at the party.
  • Who’s/whose: Who’s is a contraction for “who is” as in Who’s (who is) going to be at the party? Whose is a possessive as in: Whose book is this?

The following are other commonly misused words. They are not necessarily homonyms, but may sound similar due to regional accents. Others sound distinctly different but are often used incorrectly.

  • Poring/pouring: poring means to study closely (poring over a book), the second means raining hard or decanting from a pitcher
  • Principle/principal – the easiest way to remember the difference here is that the one that ends in “pal” (your friend) is the person who is in charge of a school.
  • Berry/bury – not a homonym, but often pronounced the same way. Berry is something you eat, bury is something you do.
  • Already/all ready – We’re all ready to leave (meaning the group) vs. Is it time to go already? (a time designation)
  • All right/alright – all right is the preferred usage. Alright is slang and not considered good writing.
  • Breathe/breath – Breathe (a verb) is what you do; breath (a noun) is what you take. She took a deep breath. Help him; he can’t breathe.
  • Drug/dragged – the first one is a chemical that you take, the other is what you do when you haul something (we dragged the body).
  • Gorilla/guerilla – the first is a large ape, the second is a fighter who sneaks around in the shrubs.
  • Lead/led – the past tense of lead (rhymes with seed; means to guide or be in front of) is “led”. Lead (rhymes with bed) is a soft metal. If you are leading someone down a path, once you’ve arrived at your destination you can say you led him there.
  • You’re/your – The first is a contraction for “you are”, as in: You’re going to do what? The second is the possessive form of “you”: That is your bed.
  • Choose/chose – The first is the present tense: I’ll choose the pasta dish. The second is the past tense: I chose the pasta last night, not the steak.
  • Loose/lose – unlike choose/chose, these two words are not related. The first means not tight: The tie is too loose. The second is what happens when you come in last: You lose.
  • Then/than – Then is an adverb meaning at the time in question; next, after that; therefore – as in: She won the first and then the second round. Than is used to show a comparison between two things: I would rather have chips than popcorn. She was smaller than he was.
  • Rappel/repel – the first is to descend a mountain or building with the use of a rope: He rappelled down the steep cliff. The second is to fight off or disgust: We repelled the enemy at the river.

There are hundreds of other examples. If you have any words you’re not certain about, check them out in the nearest dictionary. Ah, but what if you don’t know how to spell the word? Okay, dictionaries can be difficult to use if you can’t spell, but you need to know how to at least spell the basics. Try spelling the word in question as well as you can and check surrounding words. You might get lucky and find it. Unfortunately, this won’t help with words that start with silent consonants such as gnaw, know, or pneumonia.

In addition to dictionaries, many writers rely on their computers to find mistakes for them. I have a love/hate relationship with automated spell checkers. They are great for a first time read through, but, please, don’t rely on them to do the entire job. For that you need a good reader who knows words. A second set of eyes is immensely helpful. If you’ve mistaken the word “than” for “then”, a spell checker will not pick it out. As in the above homonyms, they’re spelled correctly – but often used incorrectly.

Speaking of misused words, there is an instance where the wrong word is not only appropriate, but is used to comedic effect. Every writer has, at one time or another, misspelled a word or used a word the wrong way. If it comes out funny, it is called a malapropism, named for Mrs. Malaprop, a character noted for her funny misuse of words in a comedy titled “The Rivals” written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1775.

Yes, you read that right. We writers have been misusing words for centuries – and actually, longer than poor Mrs. Malaprop. In Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the character of Dogberry commits malapropisms long before Mrs. Malaprop arrived on the scene.

So what is a malapropism? It is simply the misuse of one word for another in a comical manner, such as “I took him for granite.” (instead of “granted”) We are all guilty of errors of this type – but not all are malapropisms. Substituting “their” for “they’re” or “there” is not a malapropism – it’s just sloppy writing. When used correctly, as Shakespeare and Sheridan did, malapropisms can define an eccentric character or lead to comedic misunderstandings between characters.

PhD Language

He contemplated the miniscule chamber, its prosaic tile at odds with the neo-modernistic appurtenances.

Excuse me? This is an example of PhD language. Words that are too full of themselves or using language that sends the reader running for the dictionary. I honestly had a writer once who used words like this in the novel he was writing. The above sentence is a description of a bathroom in an old farmhouse. Although I consider myself well-read and fairly familiar with the English language, I had trouble getting through his story.

If your reader has to stop to figure out what you’re saying, you’ve lost him or her. Note, though, that the use of simple words does not mean dull or uninteresting. For instance: walk is dull; stroll is simple, but descriptive and interesting; perambulate is verbose. Consider the following examples:

Dull                                         Interesting                   Over the top

Cart                                         carriage                                    conveyance

Wordy                                      glib                                          loquacious

musical                                    harmonious                           euphonious

name                                        moniker                                   sobriquet

Hopefully, you see the pattern here. Use colorful, interesting language, but don’t require your reader to run to the dictionary every other sentence.

Contract language is another example of writing that doesn’t belong in a novel – unless you’re writing about a lawyer reading a contract. If you are, let me just say one word – Boring.

So what is contract language? We’ve all seen it and, most likely, skipped over it. It’s the stuff they bury in the fine print. Consider the following:

Was in charge of = oversaw

At the present time, or, At this point in time = now

In the event that = if

Considering the fact that = considering (change any phrase containing “the fact that” such as “due to the fact that”, on the grounds that, concerning the fact that, etc.)

The reason why = because

Circled around = circled

As to whether = whether

He is a man who = He

end result = result

final completion = completion or final, not both

If you find any of the above phrases or similar ones in your writing, think about changing them – unless you’re writing a legal brief, in which case, be brief. Please.


Books: Danita Cahill!


APromisingVirgin_FrontWhat genre do your books fall into or is it a genre blended?

Berengaria is a multi-published author of erotic romance: contemporary, paranormal (magic, ghosts, vampires, fairies, dragons, and werewolves), futuristic, medieval, and Regency-set historical. She loves to read all different kinds of romance so that is what she writes: one man/one woman; two women; two men; two men/one woman; three men, two women/one man, three men/one woman…. Whatever the characters need for their very hot happily-ever-after, Berengaria makes sure they get it.

What inspires you to write?

One day I ran out of books to read so I decided to write one myself. Once I was started I was hooked. Now there are so many more stories needing to be told. Minor characters who want their own books. New worlds demanding to be explored.

Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing?

The day job is a reality for me, so all I need is some spare time and my laptop.

Do you come up with the plot or characters first?

Always the characters. They start talking to me and then I get writing.

Do you have a favorite book of yours?

My favorite book is always the one I’m working on at the moment, because it’s in my head.

Who would you consider an influence on your writing?

My Regency historical books are inspired by Georgette Heyer. I started reading her books as a young teenager and still love them.

Tell me something quirky about yourself.

I love James Bond – any of them. All of them – and chocolate.

What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books?

I want everyone to know that anyone at all can find their happy ever after. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and flawed people are as lovable as beautiful people.

What’s next for you?

At the moment the day job is overwhelming, but I’ve been asked for more stories in this series I’m talking about today, “Virgins No More” so likely that will happen.

Do you sing in the shower?

No, I plot and plan stories.

Virgins No More book 1: “The Vicar’s Virgin” Blurb:

The Reverend Mr. Ridley needs a wife so he focuses his attentions on Georgina Arnott, a sensible, intelligent, yet attractive woman.

On their wedding night he’s relieved to discover she enjoys the pleasures of the bed, and, after a slow start, their evenings are full of passion and joy for both of them.

Unfortunately, when she takes an interest in his parish, it seems to involve filling his house with noisy people tramping muddy boots through the hallways, and filling his kitchen with dirty children.

He loves his wife. But can this marriage work?

Buy link:

Virgins No More book 2: Blurb: “Almost a Virgin”.

Theodora has loved John Smith ever since she was a little girl. But he’s very wealthy and she is only a vicar’s daughter and sister.

John had been waiting for Theodora to grow up. When he kisses Theodora in the garden at the ball, lust roars through him and he takes her there in the garden, fully dressed, only a few yards away from a hundred people. She’s warm and more than willing in his arms, and it’s not until the deed is done that he realizes he’s just dishonored his best friend’s sister.

Theodora doesn’t regret what she’s done. She enjoyed it and wants more of him. Even though he’s only marrying her because he dishonored her, she doesn’t care. She’ll make him so happy in bed and in his home he’ll stay with her even though he may never love her.

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Virgins No More book 3: Blurb: “A Promising Virgin”

Zethan, Earl of Mitcham, decides, after careful thought, that the stunningly beautiful Miss Sapphira Arnott will make him the perfect wife. It’s only when she declines his oh-so-flattering offer, that he realizes how rude and arrogant he’d been to her and her brother, and how much he loves her. The only solution is to woo her properly.

Meanwhile Simeon Arnott is in love with Miss Anne Smith. But she’s incredibly rich and he’s a mere Baronet. Fortunately her brother and she herself accept his proposal and they have an extremely successful wedding night. Their ball, however, is almost less than successful thanks to the “help” of the three youngest Arnotts and their plans to go one better than a recent much-talked-about society event.

The Season is almost over. Can Zethan win his lady’s trust?


The earl was standing at the window, his back to her. He was a very good-looking man—tall, with broad shoulders, and muscled arms and legs. She knew he rode well and played all sorts of manly pursuits. And, of course, he was rich and titled. Simeon was right. She wouldn’t get a better offer than this one from him. And she did like him. She enjoyed his company. He was always a considerate dance partner and his conversation was intelligent and witty. Her heart always beat faster when he held her in his arms for a waltz. She’d known herself very jealous of other women if he danced the waltz with them. Did that mean she loved him? She looked at his taut ass in his tight breeches. His body looked mighty fine and being older than her he’d know well how to please a woman. Her belly clenched at the thought of a man’s hands in all her secret places. She rather thought she’d enjoy the marriage bed. Especially with a well-built, good-looking man like Mitcham.

“Have you finished looking at me, Sapphira? Shall we have the wedding one month from today? In the cathedral of course. No other church will be big enough for all the guests I’ll need to invite.”

Sapphira took a step back in surprise. “You haven’t asked me yet.”

Mitcham stared at her then came closer and took her hands in his. “Dear Miss Arnott, please accept my offer to unite my house with yours in holy matrimony.”

“Do you care for me at all?” she asked hesitantly.

“You’re beautiful. Your wealth and lineage are adequate. You suit me well enough. I’ve never proposed to anyone before, if that’s what you mean. Now, I’ll send my man of affairs to the Bank of England to my lockbox to retrieve the diamond and ruby ring. You can go to Rundell and Bridge tomorrow so they can alter it to fit your finger properly. Then—”

She pulled her hands out of his grasp. “But you don’t care for me as a person. I’d always hoped to marry a man who cared for me at least a little.”

“Of course I care for you. I’m about to spend a monkey altering a family heirloom ring to fit your finger.”

“That’s not what I mean. My mama and papa loved and respected each other. They had a happy marriage. Georgina and Barnabas have found happiness together. They too love each other. I want to marry a man I can love and who loves me in return.”

“Love is for peasants, not for people of our class. You can love our son when he’s born. I will provide you with everything you can possibly need.”

“No. No you can’t. Because what I need is to be loved. I’m sorry, my lord, but I cannot accept your very flattering offer.” Sapphira turned and ran out of the room.

Buy link:

Berengaria Brown

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Books: Zrinka Jelic!


Copy of Bonded CoverWhat genre do your books fall into or is it a genre blended? My debut novel “Bonded by Crimson” is a paranormal romance and my second novel “Treasured Chest” is a historical/action – adventure romance. So my books are romances, but fall into different sub-genres.

What inspires you to write? Life, generally. Anything I see, people I come in contact or other books I read, movies, plays and such.

Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing? I’m trying. I have to un-plug from my world and plunge into my writing world. Usually I have music blaring through my headphones. Considering that my taste in music completely differs from my hubby’s, I have to block that racket he calls music or I won’t write a single word.

Do you come up with the plot or characters first? Plot I think. But I get the picture of the characters in my head. I can see how they act, talk, respond and interact with their surroundings.

Do you have a favorite book of yours? To narrow it down to just one would be impossible. I love many books for different reasons. To name a few “Chronicles of Narnia”, “Lord of the rings” trilogy, anything by Arturo Perez Reverte, and the list goes on.

Who would you consider an influence on your writing? Pretty much the authors of the books I listed above.

Tell me something quirky about yourself. Many have cats sitting on their laps or keyboard while writing, I have my 5 year old boy who comes around the very minute I sit down. And my 9 year old who somehow detects that mom is at her laptop and he must bug me with his requests, usually for food.

What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books? The world is full of injustice and we can’t escape that. No matter how tough we think we’re, the troubled times will seem easier and happiness will be increased when shared with someone who loves us. Open up your heart to love.

What’s next for you? My third completed novel titled “Love Remains” is in hands of editors, awaiting its fate.

Do you sing in the shower? Nope, I think of the next scene in my work in progress

Bonded by Crimson ~ A paranormal romance available in all formats at Black Opal Books, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & NobleKobobooks and All Romance eBooks

ZrinkaNewCoverTreasured Chest ~ A pirate’s romance now available at Black Opal Books Amazon Barnes & Noble AllRomance eBooks Smashwords and Kobobooks

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Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

Word Choices: Stutters and Redundancies


Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about word choices. When writing, each word is significant – or it should be. And the words you use should be used correctly. This first week, I’m going to talk about stutters and redundancies.

Stutters? Isn’t that what a person with a speech impediment does? Yes, but that’s not what we’re concerned with here. When a writer stutters, it means that she or he has used the same major word twice within the same sentence or paragraph, or has started too many sentences or paragraphs the same way, has given all his or her characters names that start with the same letter, or has repeated the same action too many times.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to look for stutters except by careful reading of the manuscript. Consider the following paragraph:

She swiveled her chair around and stared out the wall of windows behind her desk to where the distant mountains beckoned. Her office, a designer’s dream in shades of forest green, cream and gold, reflected the calm strength of the mountains. Potted plants softened the corners and soft environmental music played in the background, all carefully selected to create a sense of calm strength.

The stutters are “mountains” (found in the first and second sentences) and “calm strength” (found in the second and third sentences). While there is technically nothing wrong with the words, the duplication gives them less impact. Consider the same passage with the stutters changed:

She swiveled her chair around and stared out the wall of windows behind her desk to where the distant mountains beckoned. Her office, a designer’s dream in shades of forest green, cream and gold, reflected the calm strength of the view. Potted plants softened the corners and soft environmental music played in the background, all carefully selected to create a sense of peace.

With the stutters removed, the passage is stronger and flows better.

The second type of stutter is beginning multiple sentences or paragraphs the same way, as in:

She strode through the door, her eyes searching the room. She missed him on her first scan, but not the second. She moved through the crowd like a shark slicing its way through a school of fish.

Every sentence begins with “she”. It is boring and detracts from what should be an interesting interlude. This could be alleviated a simple reorganization:

She strode through the door, her eyes searching the room. Her first scan missed him, but not her second. Like a shark slicing its way through a school of fish, she moved through the crowd towards him.

We’ve used the same words, just in a slightly different way. Okay, so the passage isn’t high literature, but it does read better the second way.

This also applies to multiple paragraphs starting the same way. Take a look at your manuscript. Don’t read entire paragraphs, or even sentences. Look only at the first words of each paragraph. Have you used the same words to start too many of them, especially in a row? Can you change the wording so that there are differences?

Another type of stutter is starting all the characters names with the same letter: James, Judy, Joan, etc. Readers will begin to confuse the characters. Vary the names: James, Mary, Darla. In addition to their names, don’t give multiple characters the same traits. In real life, everyone is different, even identical twins. Whether it’s the way they speak, sit, walk, tilt their heads, etc., make your characters unique individuals.

A final type of stutter is limiting all the action to the same area or having all the action the same. Unless you’re writing a short story, or there is a specific reason why all the action takes place in one area, the setting should occasionally change as should what is happening. We can only read so many “he leapt up the stairs” before we start looking at the character as a jumping bean.


Did you see the long-necked giraffe?

Do you see any problems with this sentence? You should have. It’s redundant. All giraffe’s have long necks. It is silly to modify giraffe with “long-necked” – it adds nothing that the reader doesn’t know. Now, if you had a giraffe that had a physical problem and pointed out that he had a short neck – that information would add to the story. Re-iterating what is already known is a redundancy. It is similar to a stutter.

In addition to not modifying descriptive nouns, you should avoid modifying absolutes as in “almost alone”. “Alone” is an absolute word – if there is nobody with you, you are alone. If even one other person is with you, you are no longer alone.

Consider the following redundancies:

Little leprechaun (leprechaun)

Red in color (red)

Each individual (individual)

Free gift (a true gift is free)

very unique (something is either unique or it is not)

slightly impossible (it’s either impossible or not)

Look up at the sky (look at the sky)

Sat down (sat)

Big giant (giant)

8 a.m. in the morning (either 8 a.m. or 8 in the morning)

absolutely perfect (perfect is an absolute)

climbed up the mountain (climbing means going up)

crept slowly (crept)

exactly the same (the same)

nodded his head (nodding is done with the head – nodded)

shrugged his shoulders (shrugged)

tiptoed quietly (tiptoed)

You get the point – at least, I hope so. As with stutters, there is no easy way to find these problems other than by reading the manuscript.

Tip #3: Read your manuscript out loud and listen to yourself. It slows down your reading and makes you pay attention to each word. Better yet, read it into a recorder, then follow the manuscript as you replay the recording. Did you add or delete anything as you read? Mark those passages.