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Archive for April, 2012

On Writing: Let’s Visit Some Author Friends

Author Kathy Bellows

Kathy and Phil Bellows

 

The first post about one of our fellow writers reviews Mrs. Kathy Bellows, a close friend and widow, who has quite a story to tell.

She was born and raised in Towanda, PA. After marrying Phil Bellows in 1970, they moved to Snyder County and settled in Middleburg, PA.

They reared three children, but in 1996, their only son, Matthew and his fiance were killed in a car accident at the age of 21 and now reside in Heaven. Kathy’s two daughters are married and live close by. Kathy has five grandchildren with a sixth on its way.

Kathy and her family started attending Kreamer Bible Baptist Church in 1976 where she continues to serve the Lord today. She substitutes as a teacher of first through fourth grade Sunday school children, teaches Junior Church once a month, and helps in the nursery.

Her professional career involves working as an LPN for 20 years. Her hobbies are scrapbooking and reading.

In January 2009, Kathy’s husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer—Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. He was very ill at the time of his diagnosis and had to undergo extensive treatment. The physician didn’t know if Phil would make it through the first treatment; thus Kathy and her family were called to Phil’s bedside before treatment began. Although the treatments caused Phil to have severe pain, the family rejoiced in June of that same year as they learned the cancer was in remission. The Lord saw fit to allow him to not only make it through the treatments but also to go into remission.

Within less than four months, Phil’s cancer returned. He continued to battle it and even had a bone marrow transplant. However, six months after a miraculous cure, God called Phil home to be with Him. 

Kathy felt inspired to share with others how our loving God faithfully walked beside her and her husband during the deepest trial of their lives. She recently published an excellent journal, GOD NEVER FAILS, which documents how God sustained the family and gave them the courage to face another day.

If you have any friends or loved ones battling cancer, Kathy and I encourage you to purchase her booklet for those folks. We believe it will be an encouragement to their hearts as they trust in God to see them through the trial.

Kathy's Testimony of Her Husband's & Her Walk through Cancer

To order this inexpensive book that will be a blessing to your heart or anyone that is facing the trial of cancer, go to:

 kbellows60@yahoo.com

www.sorrowtovictory.wordpress.com

www.amazon.com

While I’m posting blogs about our Writers of Any Genre members, please consider being interviewed and having your gorgeous picture and your work posted on my blog. I’d be happy to feature you here in one of my upcoming AUTHOR FRIENDS blogs. If I have enough requests, I’ll post once a week for awhile instead of every two weeks.

Happy writing!

Marsha

www.marshahubler.com

 

 

 

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On Writing: Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

 

(Post Number Eleven)

 

Perky Parentheses and Bold Brackets

 

  

Perky Parentheses

 

If you’re like me with your writing, you sometimes might be confused concerning when to use parentheses. Should you use em dashes instead? Or how about commas?

 

Let’s first define “parentheses” so we understand what in the world these little smiley face lines are used for.

 

Definition One:  “Parentheses usually set off material that is less closely related to the rest of the sentence than that enclosed in em dashes or commas.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 265)

 

Instead of going in to detailed descriptions of how to use the parentheses, I’m going to list some examples for you:

 

Example One:  The judge decided that all the dogs (collies, etc.) in that division were worthy of a blue ribbon.

 

Example Two: The championship soccer game that the Stallions won (under difficult conditions of freezing rain) was a thriller.

 

Example Three: The Book of John (see chapter 3) mentions Jesus as God’s Son and Savior who came to save us from our sin.

 

 Definition Two: “Parentheses are used to enclose glosses of unfamiliar terms or translations of foreign terms—or, if the term is given in English, to enclose the original word.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p 266)

 

Example One:  Downloading “Dropbox” (a free program on the web that allows you to transfer files from one computer to the other instantly without a flash drive) is a godsend for writers.

 

Example Two:  In my Amish fiction book, I used the word “boppli” (baby) many times.

 

Example Three: The word for mother (mamm) in my Amish books occurs dozens of times.

 

In the CMOS, a few more examples of complicated uses for parentheses are listed, which most of us writers would not need to know. So for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stop with the perky parentheses plug here and move on to the bold brackets.

 

 Bold Brackets

 

 To use brackets, or “square brackets,” properly, all you need to remember is that they are used to enclose words that are inserted by a second author inside a first author’s original work. 

 

What? Say again?

 

You would use brackets if you inserted your own words in material from the following types of already printed material: quoted matter, reprints, anthologies, editorial interpolations, explanations, translations of foreign words, or corrections. Allow me give you some examples cited in the CMOS, 15th edition:

 

Example One: “They [the free-silver Democrats] asserted that the ratio could be maintained.”

 

Example Two: “Many CF [cystic fibrosis] patients have been helped by the new therapy.”

 

Example Three: Satire, Jebb tells us, “is the only [form] that has a continuous development.”

 

Example Four:  “The differences between society [Gesellschaft] and community [Gemeinde] will now be analyzed.”

 

I believe the only other use of brackets that we might need to know is when they are used within a set of parentheses. Here is an example; take notice where the period is at the end:

 

Example:  (For further explanation see Strunk and White’s Element of Style [1979] and Webster’s Dictionary [1984].)

 

I hope I haven’t totally confused you with this parentheses/bracket blog. These two little punctuation tips might not be of use to us every day, but once in a while, we do need to know how to use them effectively, so perhaps these tidbits today will refine your writing style a little more as you write your way to that next published piece.

 

Next time, I’m going to post a Q&A blog about one of our Writers of Any Genre members. If you’d like to be interviewed and have your gorgeous picture posted on my blog too, please let me know. I’d be absolutely thrilled beyond description to feature you on my Writers’ Tips blog.

 

Happy writing!

 

Marsha

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Writing: Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Ten)

“The Quirky Quotation Marks”

“What can I say about quotation marks?” Marsha says.  “If you are a fiction writer, you need to master the technique of using quotation marks. However, over the last few years, many publishing companies of nonfiction works have asked authors to incorporate ‘fiction’ techniques in their manuscript. That entails using quotation marks, mostly in dialogue, correctly.”

Of the many times I’ve seen quotation marks used incorrectly, the following example is the most misuse I’ve noticed:

Bad Example: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son”.

Folks tend to want to put that period AFTER the quotation marks at the end, but it is incorrect. The proper usage is as such:

Good Example One: Bert yelled to his son Raymond in the back yard, “Throw the ball, son.

The same goes for the use of quotation marks with question marks and exclamation points:

Good Example Two: After lunch Eva asked her friend Bonnie, “Would you like to go shopping?”

Good Example Three:  When Bobby saw his puppy fall off the sofa, he yelled, “Watch out, Scruffy!”

Another frequent abuse of quotation marks occurs in a series when words that need the marks are listed. The following example shows how the list should be correctly written:

Good Example Four:  Last year, our writers’ conference featured workshops entitled “Write an Irresistible Query,” “Kiddie Lit for Toddlers,” and “It’s Time for an Agent.”

But what about double quotes in the same sentence? You might be thinking, How do I write them?  Well, here’s how the CMOS says to use double quotes:

Good Example Five:  Barney said to his cousin Elmo, “You must have heard cousin Heathcliffe say, ‘We’re going to the shore on Friday.’ ” (Note the period, the single quote, a space, and a double quote.)

I’m sure it is no surprise to you that there are exceptions to using quotation marks with other punctuation marks. The English language is one big exception, if you ask me!

Anyway, here are some examples of when the quotation marks go INSIDE the ending punctuation mark:

Example One:  Harry subscribed to “The Pennsylvania Magazine”; he loves the pictures. (A work that needs quotes around its title)

Example Two:  The sergeant asked Private Botting to state his “name and serial number”; he forgot his serial number and got in big trouble. (A phrase that is a direct quote)

Example Three:  Which of Shakespeare’s characters said, “All the world’s a stage”? (A question asked with a quoted statement within it)

Example Four: Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3).  (The period follows the Bible reference.)

Example Five:  I can’t believe Pauline said, “I’m leaving tomorrow at five in the morning”! (The exclamatory statement was made by “I” not “Pauline.” Therefore, the exclamation point comes AFTER Pauline’s quote.)

Example Six:  How can teachers motivate students to learn who constantly say, “I hate school”? (The entire sentence is a question; therefore the question mark comes AFTER the quotation mark at the end.)

There are other uses of quotation marks and exceptions, but I’m thinking this blog is enough to confuse even the best writers in the land. If you have doubts, go online to the CMOS and check out your quotation mark question firsthand.

Next time we’ll look at perky parentheses and bold brackets, which will just about wrap up our series of blogs offering punctuation advice for writers. Then we’ll move on to another venue in the fascinating world of writing and publishing.

Happy writing!

Marsha

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