Friday, November 28, 2008

PUGS Pointers #4: Be a Professional

PUGS* Pointers
(*Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling)
by Kathy Ide




In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”). She also explains why it’s important for writers to polish their PUGS.

Each article in this column will address one item in each area. For more PUGS Pointers or to purchase Polishing the PUGS book, see Kathy Ide’s Web site.


PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:

The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:

The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.


WHY POLISH YOUR PUGS?

PUGS errors give an unprofessional appearance to publishers.

You don't want an acquisitions editor or someone on a publishing committee looking at your manuscript and thinking, "You know, this author has some good things to say, but she sure doesn't know a comma from a semicolon."


PUNCTUATION TIP:

Plurals

Do not use an apostrophe when pluralizing. Here are some words people tend to incorrectly insert apostrophes into:

dos and don'ts
no ifs, ands, or buts
the 1980s
the Joneses
"I had to go to three DMVs to get my license renewed."

Exception: To avoid confusion, pluralize lowercase letters and abbreviations with two or more periods (or that have both capital and lowercase letters) with an apostrophe-s.

x's and y's
a's and b's
M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s

*See The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) Rule #7.6–7.16 and The Christian Writer's Manual of Style (2004 edition) page 51.


USAGE TIP:

ensure/insure
ensure (verb) means "to assure," "to secure," "to make something certain or sure."
"Molly wanted to ensure that her manuscript was received by the publisher."

insure (verb) means to guard, protect, safeguard, or shield.
"Allstate insured the property against theft and vandalism, but not terrorism."

GRAMMAR TIP:

among vs. between

Things are divided between two people or things, but among more than two. Thus, "The royalties will be divided equally between Megan, Becky and Connie" implies that the money is to be split into two equal portions. Megan gets half; Becky and Connie split the other half. (The missing comma between Becky and Connie also supports the claim that Megan gets half while Becky and Connie split the other half.)

SPELLING TIP:

all right


Most dictionaries list alright as a legitimate word, but most book publishers do not consider it acceptable. Unless you are writing for a specific publisher, and you’re certain that publisher is all right with alright, spell it as two words: all right.


AUTHOR BIO:

Kathy Ide has been writing for publication since 1988. She has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. Her services include proofreading, copyediting, substantive/content editing, coauthoring, ghostwriting, and mentoring/coaching. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network and the Christian Editor Network. To find out more, please visit her Web site.





Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Overflowing with Thanksgiving

Continuing with yesterday's theme, I'm going to post this list a day early.

Over on my Peace and Quiet blog this week, I've posted three things each day that I'm thankful for. Today, here, I'd like to post another list.

1) I'm so incredibly thankful for all you readers. You have enriched my life, encouraged me, prayed for me, and promoted this site - I cannot express the depth of my gratitude, but I thank God for each and every one of you. We've become a wonderful community - a family really - and I'm thrilled to be part of it.

2) I'm so incredibly thankful for the three writers who've joined us - Debbie Roome, Suzanne Williams, and Kathy Ide. These ladies give of their time and their knowledge to make this site what it is. They have become my friends and partners - and I am so grateful for each of them, for their gifts, for their talents, for their kindness, for their friendship.

3) I'm so incredibly thankful for the opportunities Pix-N-Pens provides for each of us (myself included) - a chance to grow, to learn, to flourish as writers, photographers, and editors. Job leads. Contests. Prizes. Vent board. Successes - sooo many of them! One of my friends wrote this week, and said she is amazed at the growth of Pix-N-Pens. I told her every bit of it was God. He holds the business plan for this site - and has from its inception. I never had a clue that we would get to this point, and yet, I know that we are still growing. I don't know yet where we're headed, but with God in charge, I have no fears. I look forward to you growing with us!

I pray each and every one of you has a very blessed, very special Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, family, and friends. Thank you for blessing me.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Entry #3: SEASONS - Winter

Entry submitted by B.J. Hamrick:

WINTER






Saturday Soapbox on Tuesday

As I created the title for this article, I realized that the title alone gets the message across. But for clarity, I will explain.

Each year, consumers anticipate Black Friday as a day for shopping and bargains and fun and leftover turkey sandwiches slathered with mayo and topped with crispy lettuce. Yum.

The turkey sandwich is predictable, and usually so is the fun. But the shopping and bargains are left to the imagination until the Thursday paper arrives.

On Black Friday, it has become a casual tradition (definitely not set in stone) in our family that we - two sons, one future daughter-in-law, hubby and I - make an adventure of it, early, splitting up and going to different stores to get the early bird deals, and then meeting back up for breakfast or brunch. We sort through all the ads Thanksgiving night, and plot our plan. It's all part of the fun.

Until now.

A few weeks ago, my son sent me a link to The Black Friday, a Web site that hosts flyers from many major retailers, and most of them have already posted their Black Friday ads on this site. I know they are hoping to build up excitement, but it seems to take all the fun out of it. I've looked at the sales (yes, I could have NOT looked at them, but I couldn't resist) and I just don't see that there are many bargains.

Amazon.com seems to have as good or better deals - with some fun contests thrown in (In one of the contests, it may be possible to purchase a laptop for only $129!) - and their Black Friday sale start today. Black Friday sales on Tuesday. (We keep wondering why my days get all mixed up!)

We'll probably go for the experience - it is quite fun being out in the madness for a couple of hours anyway. Our shopping budget this year is tiny - practically non-existent - so we'll definitely just be window shopping. But it will still be fun. With the shape of the economy, I do wonder if there will be crowds at all.

What about you? Do you shop on Black Friday (or another day participating in the Black Friday sales)? Do you have traditions surrounding it? Share with us!


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Contest Reminder and Blog Tour

Contest reminder: Submit your photos (SEASONS is the theme) to me by Friday, November 28th (midnight Central time) for your chance to win! Check this post for all the contest details.


Now for this week's feature book - Kathleen Y'Barbo's Beloved Captive. I've started this book, but not yet finished it, so I can't give a detailed review. I can say this though - intriguing storyline and interesting characters, so if you are a fan of historicals or know someone who is, this would be a great choice!



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Captive

Barbour Publishing, Inc (November 1, 2008)

by

Kathleen Y’Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

There’s never a dull moment in the Y’Barbo household! From hockey and cheer mom to publicist to bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo somehow manages to do it all - and well. While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book.

Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.

The first book in this series is Beloved Castaway.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this sequel to Beloved Castaway, Emilie Gayarre is learning to accept her mixed race heritage while finding fulfillment in teaching children of the key. There is no denying the attraction between Emilie and the handsome young naval commander, Caleb Spencer, who is shadowed by his own flock of secrets. But if her heritage is found out, even greater things than his career are at risk. Enjoy this historical romance full of risk and redemption.


To read the first chapter of Beloved Captive, click HERE.








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Friday, November 21, 2008

PUGS Pointers #3: PUGS Make all the Difference

PUGS* Pointers
(*Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling)
by Kathy Ide




In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”). She also explains why it’s important for writers to polish their PUGS.

Each article in this column will address one item in each area. For more PUGS Pointers, see Kathy Ide’s Web site. Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers is available (in book or CD-ROM format) through her Web site.

PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:

The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:

The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.


WHY POLISH YOUR PUGS?

PUGS errors can cause confusion.

My older son, Tom, is a very busy professional, so a lot of our communication takes place via e-mail. One Sunday, I asked him what he wanted me to make for dinner that evening. His response was:

When you decide what you can say I decided this and if it’s not OK that’s OK.

It took me a while to decipher that. And when I asked my son for permission to quote it, his response was, “Did I write that? What on earth does it mean?” Even he didn’t know! Well, after reading that line several times, I came up with this:

“When you decide what, you can say, ‘I decided this,’ and if it’s not OK, that’s OK.”

Pretty confusing without the punctuation, is it?


PUNCTUATION TIP:

Spacing Between Sentences


In material that will be typeset (books or articles), one space, not two, follows a period (or any other punctuation mark) at the end of a sentence.

*See The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) Rule #6.11 and The Christian Writer's Manual of Style (2004 edition) page 378.

USAGE TIP:

back door/backdoor
back door (noun)
"Randy pounded on Jim's back door."

backdoor (adjective) means "indirect" or "devious"
"She suspected the men were involved in some kind of backdoor operation."


GRAMMAR TIP:

fewer vs. less
Fewer refers to quantities/numbers.
"If you proofread your work carefully, you will get fewer rejections."

Less refers to amounts.
"First drafts require less work than rewrites."

SPELLING TIP:

harebrained (not hairbrained)
origin: “with no more brains than a hare”


AUTHOR BIO:

Kathy Ide has been writing for publication since 1988. She has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. Her services include proofreading, copyediting, substantive/content editing, coauthoring, ghostwriting, and mentoring/coaching. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network and the Christian Editor Network. To find out more, please visit her Web site.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Entry #2: SEASONS - Fall Festival

Entry submitted by Karri Compton:

Fall Festival Fun









Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Entry #1: SEASONS: Summer Beauties

Our first photographic entry this contest is submitted by Meaghan Harrison:


SUMMER BEAUTIES















Freelance Writing and Design

Layout and Design are Useful Skills By Debbie Roome

When working in a conventional writing career, a writer will generally concentrate solely on writing. Magazines, newspapers and websites have layout artists and graphic designers who handle the design and layout side of the business. Freelancer writers on the other hand, are often expected to have some knowledge in these areas. This is especially true when working on lower budget projects.

Over the last few years, I have produced two 100 page yearbooks, a poetry book with illustrations, a book of children’s sayings, a visitor’s pack for our church, community carol books and community newsletters. In each case, I have been responsible for the entire package – writing, layout and design. I have Adobe Creative Suite 3 on my computer but I often work with the basic programmes that most people have access to: Word, Publisher and Paint. Have a look at the community newsletter I edit and produce, using Publisher.

Where to Start
If approached to put together a publication, the best place to get ideas is by looking at similar pieces of work. Examine them with a critical eye and assess the impact level, the number of words, the font, justification, graphics placement etc. I started off by doing this and also read several books on design and layout. While there are no hard and fast rules, there are some basic guidelines which will help produce a professional result.

Font and Size
Wherever there are large blocks of text, it is best to use a serif font. Times New Roman, point 12 is the accepted industry standard. Headlines are often set as a sans serif font such as Arial bold. Fancy fonts should be used in moderation and only for things like invitations. A publication full of different fonts always looks amateurish – stick to the basics for a professional effect.

Justification
Pick up any books, magazines or newspapers within reach and have a look at the justification. Most commonly, the text will be justified to the left. In some cases, it may be justified to left and right, producing a neater block of text. The Bible is normally produced in this manner. Centralized text may be used for poetry or advertisements.

Hyphenation
If a word is too long to fit on a line, it may jump to the next line or split into two parts, separated by a hyphen. Novels normally use hyphenation but newspapers and magazines do not. The eye finds it easy to follow a hyphenated word as part of a large body of text, but it looks messy when used in narrow columns such as a newspaper uses.

Graphics and Photos
Most publications require the insertion of photographs and graphics. Basic editing includes the removal of red eye, cropping, resizing and conversion to grayscale for black and white publications. If you are responsible for choice of pictures, look for something that adds to the story and remember too much detail is not impactful. It is often better to use a closer shot, or one taken from an unusual angle.

The picture on the left is the cover of our church year book for 2008. The theme is a patchwork of people, bound together by God's love. I tried to reinforce this thought by the patchwork effect of the photos on the cover. I used Paint and Publisher to produce the finished work.


Learn to use Programmes
The best way to master a computer program is by experimenting. Do this by opening a blank document and designing an advertisement, a book cover or anything you want. Go through the tabs and try each function in the drop down lists. Play with fonts and photographic effects and explore all the possibilities.

A freelance writer with design and layout skills is able to tackle a wider variety of work. Even if you are not artistically minded, it is possible to master the basics. Make it a goal to stretch your abilities this week and you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn by experimenting.


Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.



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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog Tour: One-Year Women's Friendship Devotional

The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional (Tyndale) is the latest book from friends and coauthors Cheri Fuller and Sandra Aldrich. Not only does the text provide a deeper connection to and enjoyment of God and His Word, but it is a wonderful opportunity for today’s busy women to connect with each other as they discuss the short daily devotions and the “To Ponder” questions at the end of each week’s section. Perfect for small groups or two girlfriends meeting over coffee, the devotional also is appropriate for those who prefer individual study.

What can women gain from The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra: The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is designed for today’s busy woman. Each of the 365 devotions are on one page and contain a daily Scripture, short devotional thought from either Cheri or me and end with an honest prayer and an insightful quote. At the end of each week are questions to ponder individually or talk over with a friend. But beyond the friendship connection is our heavenly Father’s invitation to know more about Him and His living Word.

Cheri: One of the benefits of our One Year devotional is it provides a vehicle to discover your natural rhythm for drawing near to God in a personal and regular way. For right-brained people like me, the structure helps me stay in God’s Word day by day so my roots can grow deeper in Christ. Being a lover of people, I also enjoy exchanging ideas and discussing how a certain verse or story spoke to me, and the weekly questions are ideal for that purpose.

What’s the target audience for The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra and Cheri: This devotional is written for women of all ages. Some of the illustrations deal with situations young career women face, and some touch a woman’s experience during mid-life. But all age groups will find material that will relate to their life and situations.

I understand the need for younger women to develop solid friendships, but why is friendship so vital to women 40-65?

Sandra: Friendship is vital to all age groups. However, women 40-65 often have entered the Empty Nest and/or grandparenting stage of life and need the strength and advice from friends who already have experienced these challenges. In addition, women in this age group tend to be more comfortable with who they are. Not having to prove anything to relatives, friends or even themselves provides remarkable freedom that allows them to encourage others and share the wisdom of their years.

Cheri: Nothing is more refreshing than time spent with a girlfriend, and who doesn’t need that? A friend can quiet our fears, pray for and with us. We all need friends to laugh with and even travel with (I took my first across the country road trip with my sister Marilyn last summer and it was a blast, and summer before last a great trip to Maine with my two “since teen years” friends). Three of my longtime girlfriends and I celebrate each of our birthdays together—so no matter how busy we are, we get to see each other four times a year. We’ve found enjoying a long lunch out at a fabulous place (and gifts from the other three) really takes the sting out of growing one year older.

What are some of the topics covered?

Sandra: The 52 weekly themes cover many issues of a woman’s life, including career challenges, the power of encouragement, joyful living, hearing God above life’s roar, when your childhood family is toxic, faith building, avoiding overload, attitude adjustments, finding your spiritual pathway, dealing with stress, wading through grief, telling and hearing truth, making a difference, dealing with Christmas frenzy, a fresh-brewed prayer life, freedom from fear, and reaching a hurting world.

Does the reader need to start reading the devotional on January 1?

Sandra: No. This devotional isn’t about performance; it’s about connections. One of our weekly themes is about guilt, and we don’t want to add more to our readers’ stress-filled lives.

Cheri: One of the helpful facets of The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is that you can jump in and start any day, wherever you are—which is very much how God graciously interacts with us. We don’t have to get to a certain place to experience his grace. In this book, there is encouragement, hope, and inspiration for every day of the year—whatever age or stage you are currently in.

What parting words do you have for your readers?

Cheri: Remember that God loves to hear your voice, just as you love to hear the sound of your kids’ or loved ones’ voices—not just once a week on Sunday but throughout your days. And every time we open his Book, the Bible, there’s a gift, a promise, or a truth that will help us learn to live abundantly no matter what we’re facing.

Sandra: Because of the shed blood of Jesus, we have the incredible privilege of stepping directly into the Presence of our heavenly Father through prayer. Years ago, a woman asked the great preacher G. Campbell Morgan if she should pray about everything or just the big things. Morgan answered, “Dear lady, pray about everything. After all, what could possibly be big to God?” I love that. And I love knowing we do not pray to air.


The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional provides connection in this fragmented world—connection to other women and, most importantly, connection to our heavenly Father. The quickest way to order it is through amazon.com. For more information about Cheri Fuller or Sandra Aldrich visit their websites.

And remember: the heavenly Father is just a whisper away.



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Monday, November 17, 2008

We Have Winners!

Over the weekend, last week's special guest judge Molly G. Shane sent me an email, choosing winners of the contest:

I have determined a winner. Since there were only 4 entries and each had their significance to the question, I would like to send them all a free copy of one of my books for putting themselves 'out there.'

Some of them are new to writing and I want to give them encouragement, but one stood out amongst the rest. Entry #2 by Jean Kinsey is the winner of this competition. Her honesty in her self evaluation shows her growth. She also went a step further and added how others in her life changed for the positive or negative.

Congratulations to each of you:

Jean Kinsey

Samantha Rowlison

Meaghan Harrison

B.J. Hamrick

Thanks for sharing of yourself in such beautiful, touching ways. May the Lord continue to use you and your words to touch hearts and lives.

Special thanks to Molly G. Shane for being our guest judge - and for being so generous with our contestants. We appreciate you and hope you'll drop by again!

Readers - don't forget to check out Molly's books: My Glass Heart Can't Be Broken and Rumored Legacy.



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New Contest: Submit Your Photos!

With the holiday season starting next week, we're going to have a photo contest for the next two weeks. The winner of the contest will receive a fun book that shows how to use your photos to make quilts, crafts, and other items perfect for gift-giving - Photo-Fabric Play: Quilt and Craft Projects Your Whole Family will Love by Krista Halligan.

To enter: submit up to three photos that best represent the theme of SEASONS (any season.) All entries must be submitted by Friday, November 28th, Midnight. (Central time.) E-mail your entries to me at tracyruckman[at]gmail[dot]com - be sure to include your name, and a name for group of photos.

Photos will be judged on clarity, art, theme, and impression.

I'll announce the winner the weekend after Thanksgiving.



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Friday, November 14, 2008

Entry #4: God Raised Her Up!

Never Give Up

by Meaghan Harrison

It all started in the Spring of 2008. At 12 years of age, a life or death situation occurred and today I’m extremely thankful that I had God.

It was the end of spring break and I did not want to go back to school. I was standing in the laundry room with my mom. I was crying and I began to get mad. My fists were clenched and I was trembling. My mom said to me, “I would hope that you would never hate school so much that you would hurt yourself.” I responded saying, “Suicide is the cowards way out.”

The words came out of my mouth like butter, but in my head the meaning was soon doubted. Just to think that my own mother would worry about me hurting myself frightened me.

It took me months to get out of this depression. On weekdays I would go to school, come home, do my homework go to bed. Notice I didn’t say “eat dinner”. That’s because it would be served to me but I would only eat a few bites then push it away. Every time I took a bite I would think to myself, “I don’t deserve this.” On weekends I wouldn’t move a muscle. I would watch Hairspray over and over again until I fell asleep. I would only get up off of the couch if I absolutely had to.

I hated this time. I was so frightened by myself that I wouldn’t move. I cried for hours at a time especially at school because I couldn’t see my parents. My mom and dad are divorced so that only made it worse.

I realized that I couldn’t live this way. I started to go to all Christian meetings (what we call church) and gatherings with fellow Christians. I drew much closer to God. For the first time in my life I chose to serve God, I wasn’t told to, I chose. After 4-5 months my depression had wonderfully subsided.

Today I wonder why I got so worked up about going to school because I know that school is good for me and I like it. I’m learning for my future. I may have hated that time, but I’m actually glad that it happened because now I have a story to tell and I am 10 times closer to God than I was before this experience. I’m Meaghan Harrison and this is my story.



Entry #3: God Raised Her Up!

When Love Fails
by Samantha Rowlison


One of the most difficult things I’ve been going through in life is my relationship with my parents. We do not see eye to eye on a lot of things. I feel like they’ve always blamed me for our problematic relationship.

2007 was really heard I can remember them and I up late arguing and I would just say anything so I could escape. Don’t get me wrong I know my parents love me, but at times I feel like love fails with them.

In September of that year I had one of the hardest times in my life. I had to leave my church of 6 years, because of broken trust and a shattered relationship. I had to leave behind the only person I trusted at the time, my pastor, Pastor Chris. I felt like love had failed again.

But in October God brought me to Trinity Wesleyan’s Youth Group. I fell in love with it immediately. And through it God began to speak to me (and in many other ways too) he began to draw me in. And though I’d fight him he never gave (or gives) up on me. Through it all He’s taught me that when love fails…and it will, there is one love I can always come back to. This love satisfies the heart and will never fail, my heavenly daddy’s love. Because His love is for eternity.



Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, Spelling Tips

PUGS* Pointers
(*Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling)
by Kathy Ide



In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”). She also explains why it’s important for writers to polish their PUGS.

Each article in this column will address one item in each area. For more PUGS Pointers, see Kathy Ide’s Web site. Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers is available (in book or CD-ROM format) through her Web site.

PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:
The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:
The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.


WHY POLISH YOUR PUGS?

PUGS errors can cause miscommunication.

If a will stated, "The inheritance will be divided equally between Tammy, Vicki and Mary," do you realize that Tammy would be entitled to half of the money, and that Vicki and Mari would each get a fourth? Why not equal thirds? Because the word between indicates that the inheritance is to be split into two parts. For more than two, among would be appropriate. Since there's no comma between Vicki and Mary, those two heirs would have to split one half between themselves. This may not be what the writer of the will intended. But grammatically, that's what this sentence indicates.

Don't cause PUGS errors to create miscommunication between you and your reader.



PUNCTUATION TIP:

Serial Commas
In a series of three or more elements, separate the elements with commas.

FOR BOOKS, when a conjunction (and, for, or, nor, etc.) joins the last two elements in a series, always use a comma before the conjunction.*

Example: "Frank, Greg, and Ken argued over whether to give their wives copy paper, printing cartridges, or writers conference tuition for their birthdays."

*See The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) Rule #6.19 (#5.57 in the 14th edition) and The Christian Writer's Manual of Style (2004 edition) page 151 (page 25 in the earlier edition).

FOR ARTICLES, leave out the comma before and (or another conjunction) in a series, unless doing so would cause confusion or ambiguity. (See The Associated Press Stylebook pages 329–330.)



USAGE TIP:

a while/awhile
a while (noun) means "a period of time."
"Marilynn spent a while editing her manuscript."

awhile (adverb) means "for a period of time."
(NOTE: for is part of the meaning.)
"Mallory asked me to stay awhile."

Rule of thumb: If you've got a preposition before awhile, split it into two words.


GRAMMAR TIP:

as vs. like
Use as when comparing phrases and clauses that contain a verb.
"Jeanie proofreads her work carefully as she should."

Use like to compare nouns and pronouns.
"Tracey writes like a pro."


SPELLING TIP:

barbed wire (not barb wire)
iced tea (not ice tea)


AUTHOR BIO:

Kathy Ide has been writing for publication since 1988. She has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. Her services include proofreading, copyediting, substantive/content editing, coauthoring, ghostwriting, and mentoring/coaching. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network and the Christian Editor Network. To find out more, please visit her Web site.





Thursday, November 13, 2008

Entry #2: God Raised Her Up!

He Lifted Me
By
Jean Kinsey


They say you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. I know how to crawl because I've done that.

It was 1983. MRI's weren't used. Syringomyelia wasn't heard of, except for the very few patients diagnosed, and even fewer physicians that knew how to diagnose it. My response was one of dismay when the neurosurgeon said, "Jean, you have syringomyelia."

"Okay, can you fix it? What causes it? What's the worst case scenario?" I asked.

He didn't soften his punches. "You need surgery. You need it now. You may lose two or four limbs. We have to puncture the spinal cord and also remove a portion of the hindbrain. Worst case scenario--you may die."

I spent many hours on my knees talking to my God. I had seven-and nine-year-old daughters that needed a mother. I'll skip the horrendous details of the many lumbar myleograms, sticking needles into my spine, and eventually, the surgery because that is all back-story.

My real story begins here.

I lived.

I didn't become totally quadriplegic, but I did lose partial use of all four limbs.

Up until then, I had thought of myself as a good Christian person, who went to church--when it was convenient, who loved my church family-- when I thought about them, who taught my children to say their nightly prayers --when they weren't too busy or too sleepy, or skipping them until the next night --or the next. My real family, friends, and life were in the secular world--where I envisioned them.

I never expected my pastor, who had undergone back surgery and couldn't sit upright, to roll himself into the back seat while his wife drove him to see me every day for the many weeks I was hospitalized. I never expected my church to make a special seat so I could sit because I no longer had my top seven vertebrae.

I didn't think most of my friends would go on about their lives and forget about me because I could no longer bowl on three leagues, shop for hours or sit and play Bunco with them. I never thought I could appreciate the few true friends, who stuck around through it all, like I do. I have learned to choose my friends wisely. If they can't accept me because I don't have a certain financial status, or if I can't participate in every activity, then they are the ones to be pitied, not me.

Most of all, I never expected my husband to love me so much that he would offer to have surgery so I wouldn't feel penitent if I could never be a wife again . I learned something about myself. I learned that I could never be that selfish.

I learned to praise God for all the good things I still possessed instead of grieving the ones I'd lost. I realized the miracle of having the love of three children and a husband who doted on me.
I learned what it meant that I still had my life.

Perhaps I would have never stopped to evaluate my friends, my family and my Christianity, if I had not been stricken with SM. I feel blessed that God has taken a misfortune and turned it into a blessing, making me a much wiser person and generating in me a more profound tolerance for life.

I have learned to give back to society by volunteering in a support group for ASAP (American Syringomyelia Alliance Project). I talk to people all over the US and other countries, some much more incapacitated than I, who have been told by doctors that their pain is imaginary. They call me because they suffer from this debilitating orphan disease and have never heard the voice of another person who also has SM.

I tell them it really isn't the end of their lives. The medical profession, due to research funded largely by ASAP, is finally accepting the fact that we do experience pain; we are not crazy. I encourage them to look for the good things that surround them instead of mourning what is not. God is still in control.


A Time Of Reflection

This week has been one of change for me. We have finally moved into our new house. The thrill of new home ownership has not worn off yet, but the daily grind of opening boxes has. It seems for every box I discard, 2 more pop up in its place.

It is hard to take the time to reflect on one's life, when you hardly have time to sit down. But in this last year's time, I lost my sweet grandmother, built and moved into a new house, and overcame some serious health problems. I freely admit to not having enough moments to take many photographs, so here is my offering from days past.

Sandhill Cranes
July 2002

Sandhill Cranes

Fulton's Crab House, Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida
December 2001

Fulton's Crab House, Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida

Morning Awakens, Saddle Creek Park, Lakeland, Florida

Morning Awakens, Saddle Creek Park, Lakeland, Florida

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Suzanne Williams Photography

Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do You Write for Money or Love?

Writing for Pleasure or Profit

By Debbie Roome



Many people enjoy writing as a hobby and wonder if they could make a career of it. There is a definite difference between writing for pleasure and writing because you have to. Even when writing is your great passion, there are times when you just don’t want to tackle certain projects.

Writing as a Hobby
There is little external pressure when writing for fun. I used to write what I wanted, when I wanted. If I felt it was good enough, I would send it off to competitions and magazines and hope to earn some cash or recognition for my efforts. My successes were encouraging and slowly, my confidence grew. The desire to write as a career was always in the background but I was comfortable as I was.

Making the Change
When I decided to seek employment as a freelance writer, I soon learned I would have to toughen up and get used to working with people who had different ideas to mine. It was a process, but these days, I’m fairly immune to harsh, critical words. You have to learn to not take things personally. Accept the truth (if any), improve your work, and move on to the next job.

Writing Talent
The ability to write well is a gift, just like a good singing voice or being able to paint lifelike portraits. Like other gifts, it also needs to be trained and developed. The more training and practice you have, the easier it is to write because you have to, not because you want to.

Pressures and Demands
When working as a writer, there will be demands placed on your skills. This applies to all fields of writing and often takes new writers by surprise. An editor may request an article on a subject you know nothing about. You may be sent to interview someone you are not comfortable with. You may even be asked to rewrite something that is off the point or not detailed enough. All of this can add up to an unexpected amount of pressure.

Deadlines
Some people thrive on deadlines; others struggle with them. When writing for payment, deadlines will become a feature of daily life. Even if they are not imposed by the people you are working for, you need to set them in place to boost your productivity. I write well under pressure and normally write things just before the deadline date. I entered a local writing competition earlier this year and wrote and emailed the entry ten minutes before the midnight deadline. (And it placed first!) With paid work, however, I would never work with such a small time margin.

Writing what you Love
I love to write Christian fiction and hope to one day make a living out of doing so. I am aware that if I attain that goal, it will be a different dynamic to writing it as a hobby. For starters, it will have to undergo ruthless editing and I may end up with a different story to the one I started with. I was asked to write and read a story for our local community carols last year and although I had great fun doing so, I had to adapt it and make changes as requested by the committee. It is possible to make a living, writing what you love, but this comes with terms and conditions attached.

Perseverance
There have been times when I’ve been working on paid assignments that just didn’t appeal to me. Some were so bad that I wanted to throw them in the bin and give up. Things like cricket clubs hold little appeal for me, but as I’ve persevered and interviewed the relevant people, their passion has inspired and motivated me. I’ve also learned an amazing amount along the way.

Keep a Balance
I make time for writing for pleasure and profit as I need both. One inspires me and releases my creativity; the other does the same to a lesser extent and also pays the bills. If you’re undecided whether you want to write for pleasure or profit, consider the pluses and minuses of both and make an informed decision on what is right for you.


Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.

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One Holy Night

The CFBA blog tour choice this week is a familiar book - J.M. Hochstetler was our special guest judge a few weeks ago. But I had already signed up to be part of the tour when Joan and I discussed her being a judge and we decided to do both. I received my copy of the book after she was here last time, but I am only about halfway through, so I can't give a full review yet.

But, so far, I have to say that the characters are interesting, and the storyline is unique. Viet Nam is not a subject covered in many novels, and neither is the time period. The tension is mounting, and I know I'll probably need some tissues (possibly a whole box) before the book ends. If you haven't read the book, I encourage you to get it. It might be that special holiday book, perfect for this time of year.

If you have read it, I'd love to hear your comments - just don't give us any spoilers, please.



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Holy Night

Sheaf House (April 1, 2008)

by

J. M. Hochstetler


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J. M. Hochstetler writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages. She was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years and has published three novels.

One Holy Night, a contemporary miracle story for all seasons, released in April 2008. Daughter of Liberty (2004) and Native Son (2005), books 1 and 2 of the American Patriot Series are set during the American Revolution. Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, is scheduled for release in March 2009.

Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and Historical Novels Society.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 1967 the military build-up in Viet Nam is undergoing a dramatic surge. The resulting explosion of anti-war sentiment tears the country apart, slicing through generations and shattering families. In the quiet bedroom community of Shepherdsville, Minnesota, the war comes home to Frank and Maggie McRae, whose only son, Mike, is serving as a grunt in Viet Nam.

Frank despises all Asians because of what he witnessed as a young soldier fighting the Japanese in the south Pacific during WWII. The news that his son has fallen in love with and married Thi Nhuong, a young Vietnamese woman, shocks him. To Frank all Asians are enemies of his country, his family, and himself. A Buddhist, Thi Nhuong represents everything he despises. So he cuts Mike out of his life despite the pleas of his wife, Maggie; daughter, Julie; and Julie s husband, Dan, the pastor of a growing congregation.

Maggie is fighting her own battle--against cancer. Convinced that God is going to heal her, Frank plays the part of a model Christian. Her death on Thanksgiving Day devastates him. Worse, as they arrive home from the gravesite, the family receives news of Mike's death in battle. Embittered, Frank stops attending church and cuts off family and friends.

By the time a very pregnant Thi Nhuong arrives on his doorstep on a stormy Christmas Eve, Frank is so filled with hate that he slams the door in her face, shutting her out in the bitter cold. Finally, overcome by guilt, he tries to go after her, but driving wind and snow force him back inside. With the storm rising to blizzard strength, he confronts the wrenching truth that what hate has driven him to do is as evil as what the Japanese did all those years earlier, and that he needs forgiveness as desperately as they did ...

Frank doesn't know that what God has in mind this night is a miracle. As on that holy night so many years ago, a baby will be born and laid in a manger--a baby who will bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss.

To read the first chapter of One Holy Night, click HERE.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

Entry #1: God Raised Her Up!

My Struggles Aren't in Vain

Submitted by B.J. Hamrick

It was the summer of 2001, and I was 17 years old. I wanted only one thing that summer: to die. For seven years I'd struggled with a condition that affected my brain and my heart – leaving me depressed, alone, and afraid. I wanted to end it all.

Then I met Annette.

It was an accident, actually. I was surfing the Web one day when I came across Teen Light Magazine, an online journal published by a local journalist named Annette Dammer. I submitted poetry to the site, and Annette immediately e-mailed me back.

"This is great!" she said. "You have a gift."

At first I didn't believe her, but I kept writing. Working for Teen Light gave me something to do on dark sleepless nights – nights when the pain was so great I wanted to die – nights when suicidal thoughts raged through my mind.

Annette's words kept coming back to me. "You have a gift…" The question haunted me: could she be right? What if writing was the reason God had put me on earth? What if my life actually had a purpose? What if I could write to encourage others – even if I had to do it from my mattress?

Slowly, Annette gained my trust. I told her about myself, about my illness, and about the hopelessness I felt inside. "God is using you," she told me. "Don't give up."

That summer, Annette taught me how to write a query letter. She slammed my inbox with writing-market information. Before long, I started to secretly send out queries. My first article was publishedby Focus on the Family Magazine the next Fall.

I danced around the living room as the slippery white pages rubbed against my fingers. At that moment, something inside of me came alive. I knew: my struggles weren't in vain. God was using them to encourage other hurting people through the words He gave me.

It's been five years since the day I danced around my living room. Five years since I wrote my first query letter. Five years, and I've been published over 50 times – each article a gentle miracle from God's hand. But there's another miracle from God's hand: the miracle of my healing. One year ago, He touched my body and made me whole.

Then the real crisis came. What should I do with my life? What should I do with my newfound health? I spent months on my knees before God, crying out for guidance.

The answer came clearly one cold winter day: go to journalism school.

"Journalism school?" my friends asked. "Are you crazy? Writing is a hobby – not a calling. Why be a journalist when there were so many other jobs out there?"

My answer was simple: everyone has a story. Every story needs to be told.

From the beginning of time, God penned the words of your life in His book. You may not understand why He chooses the tragic – the painful– or difficult moments.

But you'll love the ending – if you'll stick around long enough to see how it turns out.

I'm so glad I did.



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New Contest: Has God Raised You Up?

This week, I'm pleased to welcome author Molly G. Shane as our special guest judge. Mrs. Shane is celebrating the release of her latest book, which we've detailed below. But first, we'll share the contest details:


We want to know:

The trials of life may leave your heart tender but the bottom will never fall out because God is there to raise you up and show His ever-evolving love to those who reach to receive it.

Share with us, in 1000 words or less, a trial of your life that God used to raise you up.

Submit your entries to me at tracyruckman[at]gmail[dot]com by Friday, midnight. I'll post the entries as they arrive, and we'll announce the winner over the weekend. The winner will receive an autographed copy Molly's latest release.

About the Author:

Molly G. Shane has published poetry anthologies through the International Library of Congress. She has recently authored My Glass Heart Can’t Be Broken, and Rumored Legacy, the first book of the upcoming; A Dynasty of Friendship Series arriving winter of ’08. Butterfly Wishes and Popsicle Dreams is a children’s book due in the spring of ’09.

Mrs. Shane donates her books to non-profits, including a Christian, life affirming pregnancy center and Telamon who assists migrant and seasonal farm workers under the Workforce Investment Act.

She graduated Western Michigan University in Psychology and Spanish. Mrs. Shane is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and resides in Michigan with her husband and two children.

You can visit Molly on the Web.


About the Book:


My Glass Heart Can't Be Broken

How can you love someone, lose them and not get your heart broken in the process? Cedrine Linstor thought there was no surviving a lost love until it happened to her.

Her father’s stroke had taken him away forever, and her mother had to work extra hours having little time to spend with her. The only one she could turn to were her childhood friends, Isaiah and Greg.

Isaiah’s disability was shortly recognized by his teacher. His parents made the difficult decision to send him to a boarding school hours away where there was a specialized instructor.

Greg Merisotti worked at the horse ranch where Cedrine and Isaiah kept their mares, until a seminary graduate asked Greg to watch over his church.

Greg had an epiphany there, which he shared with the young priest. The priest requested he attend a mission and look for God’s signs to help figure out his future.

Cedrine had no one, until she began receiving anonymous love letters. At first it gave her hope, but as the letters kept coming with each clue leading nowhere, she wanted to give up her search until she got an astounding idea. Will you be able to figure it out before Cedrine does?




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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Join the Blog Rally for Small Churches & Contest!

My son brought the East Cherokee Community Church to my attention this week, and asked if we could help spread the word about this wonderful church home.

Zach ran into the pastor, Mike McCrum, this week and after speaking with him, decided to take action. Brother Mike is a little discouraged - attendance is steady at church, but not growing, and after a tornado destroyed their personal home this past Spring and they continue to live in an apartment.

East Cherokee Community Church is much like hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small churches across our country - each week, the congregation assembles, spends time in worship, praise, fellowship and studying the Word. In small churches, the members are close - like family. They stick together through thick and thin, and minister to each other as well as reaching out to the community to share the Gospel, through Word and action, in a myriad of ways.

This particular church has a heart for missions, and a heart for camps. The church sits on 20 acres of secluded woods, and one of the future plans is to build a church camp there for inner-city kids. But to accomplish all they dream, they need more members. And that's why we're talking about them today.

Do you know someone in the metro Atlanta area looking for a small church home? Suggest that they consider East Cherokee Community Church in Woodstock, Georgia.

I asked Zach to tell me about the services. They're laid back, and hold a worship service and sermon at 10 a.m. The worship time is a mixture of hymns and praise choruses (similar to camp services), with a praise and worship band of keyboard, guitar, drums. After the sermon, everyone is invited for refreshments, and then at 11:30, the pastor leads an informal discussion and answers questions about the sermon for anyone who wishes to participate. A nursery is provided during the worship service. The church also offers Community Desserts and Bible Study on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. and several other programs during the month.

If you'd like to send a note of encouragement, I'm sure it would be a blessing to this church. Here's the information:

East Cherokee Community Church

999 Jep Wheeler Rd.

Woodstock, GA 30188

Or you can send them an e-mail.

Since many of my readers live all around the world, I've asked other bloggers to participate in a "blog rally" in support of small churches everywhere. If you'd like to blog about your small church, just send me a link, and I'll include it in the list below.

Anyone who posts will be entered into a random drawing for a box of 5 Books!

Click on these links to learn about other small churches:

Leslie at A Little Bit of Sunlight

Amy at Amy Barkman

Tracy at my other blog Peace and Quiet - I'll post something different about small churches there.


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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Story of a Stump

A number of years ago, I wanted a certain species of tree to plant in my yard, so my husband went and found me one. We picked the perfect spot, just outside my living room window, and planted it. Over time, this tree grew and grew until became apparent it was NOT the tree we thought it was. It was in fact another very invasive tree, with seed pods that sprouted after every rainfall, and I was nonplussed. Then along came the hurricanes of 2004. During 2004, we were in the path of 3 substantial hurricanes: Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne. Well, this tree didn't make it through all that wind, but fell (fortunately not on my house). So we cut down the tree and left the stump.

Now where am I going with this story? It's amazing to me the little things that affect your life. That stump became one of mine. It began when I decided to put a pan of bird seed on the stump. After all, it seemed like a good platform. I cannot begin to tell you the species of birds I have seen come to that feeder. My most prized were the painted buntings.

Female Painted Bunting

Female Painted Bunting

I have spent so many enjoyable hours sitting in my favorite armchair, gazing out, snapping photos through a slightly dirty window, of all that flew in. Cardinals, blue jays, chipping sparrows, woodpeckers, collared and white-winged doves, all of these came. The stump became a very popular spot.

And it was not just birds; there were insects, spiders, frogs, and toads. Apparently, the metal pan in which I placed the bird seed each day, created underneath a nice, dark, cool spot for toads.

Oak Toad, Bufo terrestris

Oak Toad, Bufo terrestris

But soon I noticed some signs of decay there, a little wood rot and a few mushrooms.

Melting Point, Mushrooms

Melting Point, Mushrooms

I guess all good things must come to an end. I am moving from this house to another and leaving the remains of my stump to the creatures that inhabit the yard. I'm sure I'll find me another wonderful spot at the new place to watch what comes and goes, and I'm excited about that. But somehow I know it is this stump which I will remember fondly the most.

Argiope Spider

Argiope Spider


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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Formatting Submissions


Although the written content of your work is important, the presentation is a vital part of the whole package. Generally, editors will not waste time on a submission that is scruffy or not presented according to industry standards. Most publications have their own preferences, but if not familiar with them, it is best to follow the basic rules. These can be divided into two sections: traditional print and internet-based work.

Guidelines
If writing for a publication for the first time, find out if they have submission guidelines. This can be done by writing to them or doing an internet search. Simply enter the name of the magazine or newspaper followed by guidelines or submission guidelines. If they can’t be found, try the Writers Market website.

Fonts
Fonts can be divided into two groups: serif and sans-serif. The word serif refers to the little tails on the letters. Common serif fonts include Times New Roman and Georgia. Sans serif fonts include Arial, Century Gothic and Calibri. Serif fonts are easier on the eyes when reading several pages of text. For this reason, most publications request that work be submitted using 12 point, Times New Roman.

Text on the internet is normally divided into small blocks which are easier to read and here, sans-serif fonts are more common.

Paper
Use good quality A4 photocopy paper – minimum of 80gsm (20-pound bond paper, no onion-skin or erasable) – and print on a normal or fast normal setting. Never use draft mode for submissions. Print on one side only.

Margins and Spacing
Editors need space to mark alterations, write instructions and insert style notations. For this reason, they need a margin of at least one inch or three centimeters all round and the text must be set on double-line spacing for manuscripts, single-spacing for queries and synopses.

Layout
This varies from publication to publication. A standard layout is a centered headline, all paragraphs indented except for the first and justified to the left.

Layout for Websites
The main difference here is that paragraphs are not indented and a space is left between them. Blocks of text should be short and easy to read as people won’t wade through pages of writing when surfing the net. Use bold subheadings to divide the page up and catch the reader’s interest.

Headers and Footers
Type your name, telephone/fax number and email address in the top left corner of the first page. The bottom of the last page must include the word End and the word count. If the article is more than one page, include a header with the author’s last name, slash, title on the left and page number on the right – usually italicized to separate it from the rest of the text. Sometimes pages get separated and this helps identify what is missing. (This happened to me when I sold my first children’s story in 1992. My details were only in the covering letter and the magazine lost it. Thankfully, they held onto the story and when I contacted them, explained the correct way to submit my work.)

Photographs
If the submission includes photographs, don’t forget to include captions for each one. These can be attached to the back of each print with a small piece of adhesive tape.

The preferred format for photographs submitted by email is .jpg or .gif and the bigger the file, the better. It’s wise to check with the publisher for their exact requirements. Some now also want the photos submitted on a CD or DVD in highest quality. Many publishers require certain size images –some request extra large files, and others request extra small. The most common is 300 dpi.

Submission by Email
Some publications accept work by email. It is important to submit work in the way they specify. If using attachments, make sure they are in the correct format – if using a later version of Word, for example, you may have to save it as a document that is compatible with Word 97-2003. Some publications prefer a PDF as this ensures the layout is unaltered. Others ask that the text is cut and pasted into an email to help prevent virus transmission.

This may sound like a complicated process but like all things, it comes easily with practice. As you send more and more work out and get to know how publications operate, you won’t even have to think about the layout. It will become a natural part of your work.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.



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Out of Her Hands

The title of today's featured book sort of fits my mood today - Out of Her Hands.

I've never identified with a main character like I did with Megan DiMaria's character Linda (although at one point, I do admit being a little frustrated with her - probably like I would be with myself in similar circumstances.) The story was very real to me, and at times, I felt like I was reading a non-fiction journal of a close friend, rather than a fictitious tale. Linda handled the difficulties and surprises of every day life with grace and love, and on her knees.

Out of Her Hands is a rare find - one of those "feel good, laid-back, easy Sunday reads" but with enough tension and conflict to keep you on your toes, or rather, turning the pages.



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Out Of Her Hands

Tyndale House Publishers (September 22, 2008)

by

Megan DiMaria


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and raised in New York State and have since lived in Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, and now I live in Colorado. My husband and I have three delightful, adult children and an old Jack Russell Terrier named Belle who seems to find her way into my novels. My resume will tell you I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in Communications, and after graduation I worked as a radio and television reporter, freelance writer, editor and marketing professional.

I'm a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and am assistant director of Words For The Journey, Rocky Mountain Region.

But what's most important to know about me is that I am a follower of Jesus, wife, mother, friend, reader and writer.

Life’s a journey, enjoy the adventures!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children's future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.


To read the first chapter of Out Of Her Hands, click HERE.


"No sophomore slump for DiMaria! This novel (Out of Her Hands) is as engaging and meaningful as her first, Searching for Spice. Her realistic portrayal of the characters' lives should endear them to readers and help Christians to feel less alone in their daily trials." ~Romantic Times Magazine, 4 ½ stars TOP PICK!


“Life in Linda's world is messy...but filled with love, laughter, struggle and faith. Megan has created a most real heroine for us to love...and I adore her!”~Deena Peterson, reviewer: A Peek at my Bookshelf


“Megan DiMaria crafts a novel so compelling, so real, you forget you're reading fiction.”~Darcie Gudger, reviewer: TitleTrakk


"This is a great read for a quiet afternoon or in those times when you feel your own life spinning out of control and need the reality check of knowing you're not in it alone."~Amazon reviewer



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