Sunday, August 28, 2011

Contest for My Book

This week was a Long week with a capital L. Soooo long. It put me terribly behind on blogging and replying to comments and reading blogs and generally doing much online. I didn't even get this week's Grammar Daze written, even though I know what subject I'm tackling next. I will do that soon. Not today, though, because today is my birthday (I'm 28, wheeee) and I'm vegging.

I did want to make everyone aware that Laura Pauling is doing a giveaway for my book, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School) right now, and you can check that out here: Laura Pauling's Contest.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grammar Daze - effect/affect

Tara Tyler asked that I do a post on effect and affect, so I'm going to do that for this week's Grammar Daze.

Effect is typically used as a noun. (Noun = person/place/thing/idea.) If you can use "a," "an," or "the," it's always a noun: the girl, an owl, the happiness, a city, etc.

Affect is typically used as a verb. (Verb = action word for the purposes of  "affect." It's what you do. To be or not to be. Or in this case, to affect or not to affect.)

An easy way to remember the distinction is to use alliteration. In this case, we'll use effect and elephant. They both start with E, and they're both nouns.

If you want to know whether you should use effect or affect in a sentence, replace the word with elephant to see if it's the noun that you need. If it is, use effect.  Like so:

The effect was enormous.

Effect is the subject of this sentence. To be sure, replace it with elephant.

The elephant was enormous.

Some other sample sentences:

This happened to great effect. (There's no "the" or "an" here, but you could say "a great effect," with the "a" implied.)
This happened to (a) great elephant. And there we go.

I want to have an effect on people.
I want to have an elephant on people. Check! It wouldn't be very comfortable having an elephant on you, but the sentence works.

Now, for affect. People are affected by things happening. In this case, we will find another verb that starts with A. Let's go with assassinate.

It will affect us.

Let's see if this works with an alternate verb.

It will assassinate us.

A couple of other examples:

The foggy weather affected our ability to see clearly.
The foggy weather assassinated our ability to see clearly. Check! Our ability is completely dead.

I want this to affect readers in a positive way.
I want this to assassinate readers in a positive way. Check! Super creepy, but the sentence effectively makes my point.

One more thing... a couple of exceptions! (Because English is good at those.)

In all of my years of writing, I don't think I've ever used effect/affect as described below, but it's good to know this anyway.

In a few cases, effect is used as a verb. As a verb, it's usually to show achievement of a final result, as in: "They will effect a new law."  As I said, most of the time, you'll use effect as a noun.

Likewise, as Emmy Roo pointed out in the comments, "affect" can sometimes be used as a noun. It's usually used in psychology, and it has to do with emotion and mental states, as in: "The patient's affect was disruptive." (A quick note that when affect is used like this, it is pronounced differently. The stress is on the first syllable, whereas when it's used as a verb, the stress is on the second syllable.) Again, though, this isn't used very often--unless, perhaps, you are in a field that talks a lot about affects.

Happy writing!

Guest Post on Outlining (or a lack thereof)

Today, I did a guest post for Dia at A Tale of A Strange Land. You can check it out over there if you'd like. ^_^

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Short Story ~ "Homecoming"

A while back, for my friend's birthday, I wrote a short story that took place several years after the events in  my novel, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School). I figured that now that Confessions is published, I'd go ahead and post it here. It'd probably be good to have some kind of sample of my writing on my writing blog. :p

This can be read as a standalone snippet, even if you know nothing about my novel. ;)



I knew it was a bad idea. I had known it was a bad idea from the moment I dragged Joey into it, and not just because he told me, "This is a really bad idea."
"There are some things," I said as I moved a mop bucket out of the way, "that have to be done even if you know it's not the best idea." I kicked off the high heels that I had forced my feet into and breathed a sigh of relief. "Even wearing these things once or twice a year is too much."
"Remind me why I'm here again?" Joey asked.
"Because this is Cass's last year for the homecoming dance and it's going to be ruined if I don't do something."
"Still not sure why I have to be here."
"To give me a boost, of course." I pulled a screwdriver out of my purse and motioned Joey over to the wall.
Joey rolled his eyes. "Sephie, you do realize that we should be chaperoning this dance, not unscrewing vents so you can crawl into them." He pointedly went to the side of the room and dragged over a stool from the corner. He set it below the vent and waved at it. "Ta-da."
"Oh, come on. Where's the fun in standing on a stool? We're supposed to be all James Bond-like and everything."
"We're supposed to be inside the gym. You know, chaperoning." He enunciated each syllable on the last word. "Most girlfriends would drag their boyfriends to the janitor's closet to make out."
"I can stuff a broom and a mop in a closet at my house and make out with you there sometime if that will make you happy." I stepped up on the stool, which was a little tricky in my dress. I unscrewed the corners of the vent cover and lifted it carefully off the wall. I tucked the screwdriver back into my purse and stuck my hand out behind me. "Megaphone."
Joey handed me the megaphone we'd acquired from Coach Jenson's office. I grinned at him and shoved the megaphone into the hole. I pulled a foghorn—also from Coach Jenson's office—out of my purse and shoved that up there, too. 
"Here, hold this for me." I handed Joey the purse and hoisted myself into the vent.
The janitor's closet was right on the other side of the gym, so it wasn't hard to find my way to one of the vents that overlooked it, especially when all I had to do was follow the noise.
I peered through the slats down to the decked-out gym. I could see a swirl of colors and hear the loud music and voices of high school kids as they danced and laughed.
I dragged the foghorn forward and let it blast. My ears rang as the noise echoed loudly off of the narrow vent walls. Very, very loudly. So loudly that I could barely hear it when the music in the gym come to an abrupt stop. That was my cue. I held the megaphone up and spoke into it, pitching my voice higher and deciding to go for an Irish accent.
"Ahem. Excuse me for interrupting the party, but there's something very important that needs to be addressed." I was sure that people were looking around to see what the hubbub was all about, and I wondered if they would realize my voice was resonating from a vent on the wall or if they would assume it was coming from the intercom. "There is a certain young man here tonight who is utterly miserable. I won't name names—Evan Moore—but I'm pretty sure the misery is mutually shared by this girl he knows who is also here tonight."
I could almost picture my sister Cass turning so white that her freckles stood out. I cheerfully continued, "Now, I have to tell you, this young man has sure had moments in high school that made me wonder about him. There was the time he apparently stuck erasers up his nose and said he was an alien. There was the time he somehow locked himself into his own locker. There was the time—you know, I won't go into that one; it was pretty embarrassing. But he also turned out to be a pretty nice guy. He never teased this girl about the braces she had to wear for two years, even when certain sisters teased a lot. He never forgot her birthday and he totally wins points for making a giant marshmallow snowman with her on her back deck using like a hundred bags of marshmallows."
My hearing was pretty much back to normal and I could hear the whispers and murmurs and laughter below me in the gym. I cleared my throat and finished, "I'm not exactly sure what the fight last week was about, but I know that it was almost impossible to get her to come to homecoming today. I know that they're both out in that gym looking like someone killed puppies in front of them. I know that they've been through too much to let one fight come between them. I also know that if they don't work things out, certain sisters might go crazy and lock them in a tiny room together until they talk it out."
My next words were so serious that I almost dropped my high, fake accent. "High school is confusing and complicated, and then suddenly it's over and everything that happened in high school starts to feel so distant. The important thing is having people who stick by your side through it and after it. I've found there's not much that can stand between you and someone you love—as long as you don't let it."
If that didn't make them both stop and think about things, I didn't know what would. I started to lower the megaphone, changed my mind, and added, "Seriously, Evan, fix this or your car is subject to being plastic wrapped."
There was a burst of laughter from the room below, and as I maneuvered myself around in the vents, the music in the gym kicked back on. Pulling the megaphone and the foghorn with me, I made my way back to the janitor's closet.
Joey shook his head as soon as my head poked out of the vent. "That," he said firmly, "was the worst accent I have ever heard. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be Scottish or British."
"Irish, duh." I handed him the megaphone and foghorn before turning around and climbing out onto the stool.
"Worst. Accent. Ever."
I reclaimed my purse from him and he handed me the vent cover so I could screw it back in place. "It was a great speech, though, right?"
"Cass is going to kill you."
"Not if Evan gets me first." I jumped off the stool and shoved my feet back into my high heels. "Look at it this way: it will give them something to unite about. Maybe they'll make up just to see how they can get back at me. And—" I grabbed the front of Joey's suit and tugged him toward me for a long, breathless kiss. "There, you can't say I never made out with you in the janitor's closet. Now let's get this stuff back to Coach Jenson's office! We're supposed to be chaperoning!"
"That's what I—oh, never mind." Joey grabbed my hand and we ran through the high school hallways toward the coach's office. "You know, I would have thought that after going into our third year at college, we'd be done with high school shenanigans."
"Admit it. You're having fun."
There was a wicked gleam in his eye. "Maybe a little."
And that was reason number one thousand and one that he was still my best friend after all these years.
"Besides," I told him after we had returned the megaphone and foghorn and headed back to the gym, "Evadne still has a couple more years of high school and then Ariadne and Daphne have to get through it. We have years of potential high school shenanigans left."
"At this rate, your sisters are going to ban us from everything high school related."
We stopped just inside the gym doors. My eyes skimmed over all of the dancing students and I smiled when I saw Cass and Evan talking earnestly at the side of the room. I nudged Joey and nodded toward them. "Maybe not."
Joey slipped his hand into mine as Cass and Evan finally walked onto the dance floor. From across the room, Cass saw us and she pointed at me and then gave me an 'I'm going to kill you later' look.
I waved cheerfully at her and mouthed, "You're welcome!"
"Oh, yeah," I said happily, leaning against Joey, "years of potential high school shenanigans."


Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School) and related characters © Laura Josephsen

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grammar Daze - loose/lose and stared/starred


I decided that I'm going to have Grammar Days Daze (because, really, don't you ever feel dazed when it comes to grammar?) on my blog where I will address grammar or spelling issues that I come across while writing/editing.

Today, I am going to briefly talk about two things that drive me slightly insane when I read them written incorrectly.

stared vs. starred
lose vs. loose

Let's examine these, shall we?

to stare: to look at something very intently
to star: to play the lead role in something 
a star: someone who stars in something; also, a giant ball of gas way out in space

The past tense of to stare is stared.
The past tense of to star is starred.
A star has no past tense, because if a star (person) is past, they've fallen out of stardom, and if a star (giant ball of gas) is past, it's probably gone supernova or something.

Lose means to have lost something.
Loose is the opposite of tight. 
Loose is also to release something, as in: I let my giant saber-tooth giraffe loose downtown and it ate the mayor.

If you misuse loose/lose, your readers might get the wrong idea.

Happy writing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This week, I've been given three awards. Two of them were the Liebster Award. I got one from the amazing Barbara Kloss and another from the fantabulous Tara Tyler. THANK YOU to both of you!

Liebster apparently comes from German with multiple translations, meaning 'dearest' or 'sweetheart'. It was meant to be given to bloggers with less than 200 followers.

 Here are the rules:

1. Thank the giver
Again, thank you to Barbara and Tara!

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog--and follow them!

*Jenna Cooper at Finding the Right Way
*Tonja's Musings
*Becky Taylor
*Faith at Tangled in My Own Endeavors
*Annikka Woods at Writing in the Woods

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Next, the super awesome Donna Weaver gave me this award:

Thank you, Donna!!

I think maybe I'm supposed to answer questions about myself? But as Donna said in her blog, I've answered quite a lot in other award posts. If anyone wants to know something about me, feel free to ask. In the meantime, I'll take my cue from Donna and share a quote.

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." ~ John A. Shedd.

So get out there and sail your ships into the known and unknown! Brave the waters and the storms and go on an adventure. And have fun! :D

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The winner of the signed Confessions book goes to:

Laura Pauling

Congrats, Laura! ^_^

*winner chosen using

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some rambling about the current state of my brain and a contest for "Confessions"

I have a series of books that I'm co-writing with the fantabulous Faith King. The first book, Awakenings, was published last year and we were waiting on the second book to come out this year. Well, yesterday we got an email from our publisher, informing us that Awakenings is being retypsetted to a smaller font, the cover changed, and it's going to be re-released very, very soon, and then the second book, The Guardian Race, will be published within a few weeks of the first book.

This is excellent and exciting news because it means I'll have another book coming out soon, but it also hit me last night that this means that soon I'm going to need to jump back into getting-a-book-to-publication mode, and I just came out of that mode. I am now frantically racing to edit my most current manuscript, Rising (working title) so I can start writing its sequel, Rising2 (again working title). I'm going to see how much I can get written before my publisher releases the second book in our series.

Confused yet? I'm hardly following myself here. My brain is going in about a dozen writing/editing/publishing/blogging/whatamidoing directions at once. So instead of doing a writing blog this weekend, I'm going to have a contest for my latest book instead.

This is for a signed paperback copy of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School).


"Write what you know."

Persephone "Sephie" Benson scoffs when her creative writing teacher throws that little gem out there. Maybe this advice would work for a professional skydiver or a baseball star or a ninja princess. It's not so great for a high school student who doesn't even know what to do with the rest of her life. Add in being the oldest of six girls, having Responsibilities with a capital R, and living in a town the size of a tick, and you've got a recipe for boring soup.

At least, that's what Sephie thinks until her senior year. Now, her grandfather is losing his house. One of her sisters plays a starring role in the local high school scandal. Even things with her best friend Joey aren't the same. As Sephie deals with the changes in her life, she finds that nothing is quite what she expects--and that sometimes, the most extraordinary life can be the one that seems the most ordinary.


Comment on this entry to let me know you want an entry. Rules are as follows:

1. Must be a follower of this blog.
2. Tweeting about the contest is an extra entry. (Kindly provide a link.)
3. Blogging about the contest is another extra entry. (Kindly provide a link.)

Contest will close on Wednesday morning at 10AM and I will announce the winner later on Wednesday.


In the meantime, I'm back to editing. Happy weekend to you all!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

of rambling, links, and contest reminders

*waves to everyone* And welcome to my new followers! You guys have put me over 150 blog followers! Thanks to all of you. ^_^

I have been allowing myself a break from writing/editing/blogging this week. Instead, I read several delightful, refreshing, heart and humor filled books and I'm now swinging back around to try to be productive with editing and rewriting. And yes, blogging. ;) I'll be starting homeschooling later this month. I can't believe it's already August! I've got all my schoolbooks and registration done, so I'm all set to go.

I feel like all I've been doing lately is announcing book-related stuff, but I did want to update everyone on my book's final links and post a couple of reminders:

First, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School) is now available in print:

Confessions Paperback

And to update the ebook links:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook

Second, there are still two in progress contests for a signed paperback copy, one on blogspot and one on DeviantArt:

Barbara's Contest on Blogger
Holly's Contest on DeviantArt

And now I'm back to edting and rewriting my last manuscript. Or I should say, editing and rewriting it for the millionth time.* What are you all working on this month?

*This might be a slight exaggeration.