Posts Tagged ‘writing books’

Let’s Talk Grammar for a While

The Snippy Semicolon

Next to apostrophes, I’d say semicolons are probably the most misused punctuation marks used in the English language. I dare say most people aren’t really sure what to do with the little period with the comma dangling underneath, so they either guess, and guess wrongly, or they avoid using the punctuation mark altogether, which is probably a wise decision.

Sometimes semicolons can be used in a long series when commas are also needed, but this is such an unusual complex situation, I don’t think we even need to go there today. This information might be useful to someone who’s possibly writing a textbook on the classification of flora and fauna, but it’s not needed for the average writer. So let’s look at the two times when a semicolon is preferred in “normal” writing:

  1.  Sometimes when you have two compound sentences closely related, you can use a semicolon instead of a period and a capital letter to separate them:

Example: Mary decided to remodel the kitchen; she purchased new linoleum first.

Example: George booked a midnight flight to Paris; but his flight was cancelled due to snow.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just use a period and a capital to separate these sentences in the examples. Well, you can. It’s a writer’s preference. Often it might just add a little flavor to your voice to throw in a few semicolons instead of brand new sentences, especially when the two sentences are so closely related. Also, in the second example, there’s no reason why you couldn’t separate the two compound sentences with a comma either. Again, it’s the writer’s preference. Here’s the next common use for the semicolon:

  1. Use a semicolon to separate two clauses of a compound sentence or two compound sentences when divided by an adverb such as: however, then, thus, hence, indeed, besides, accordingly, and therefore. This example is the one I see misused the most. Here are some correct uses:

Example: Jack bought me a birthday gift; therefore, I sent him a thank-you note.

Example: I thought I was adopting a nice calm dog; however, Bailey is a little furball of energy!

Example: I started my Christmas shopping early; hence, I was done by December 15th.

IMPORTANT! Always remember to add a comma after the adverb!

So, there you have the two most common uses of the semicolon. Spruce up your writing by using it once in awhile; but use the little rascal correctly!

Next time, we’ll discuss everyone’s favorite punctuation mark—the overused comma!




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Skye’s faith is tested to its limits when her best friend, Sooze, gets a life-threatening illness.


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 God told you to write your book, and it’s fine the way it is.

You don’t have the time. You have to clean the refrigerator and watch the grass grow.

You don’t have the money. Your Bowser says he’s out of bacon bites and sausage treats.

You don’t know how to get to Montrose. All the airports are closed, your GPS is on vacation, and MapQuest is being updated.

You can’t find your manuscript on your computer: (no further explanation needed).

You feel the faculty members have nothing to help you because you know everything there is to know about writing.

You don’t knead anyone to edit yore wirk because your reel good with grammer and speling. You got a C+ in high school Englsih, and that’s good enuff.

Your Aunt Izzy read your book, and she thinks it’s the most wonderful thing she’s ever read.  She’s going to give you the money to self publish it.

You’ve revised your manuscript twice, and you don’t need any smart alec editor telling you to change it AGAIN!

You haven’t been published yet, so you’ve decided to quit writing. After all, you’ve been doing it three months already, for gravy’s sake!


Access to the registration form is at the bottom. 

CHECK IT OUT AT http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx 

I’d love to see you there next week!


Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Horse Facts Blog)



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Foster kid Skye faces the toughest trial of her life when her best friend, Sooze,

develops a brain tumor.


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August 3, 2015

On Writing: Marketing Post Number Three


“To market, to market

To sell a book or two…”

That’s the little ditty that should be constantly reverberating in your brain as you write your book or wait for it to arrive from the publisher.

The majority of us writers are not big-name best sellers. We have no TV exposure and very little radio and newspaper coverage. So how do little Mr. Nobody and Mrs. WhoIsShe get their names out there in public view?

So far, we’ve discussed (with a little detail):

  1. Blogsites and websites
  2. Business card distribution

Let’s tackle the book signing venue today:

Marsha.Selling.Pottsville (2)I had previously told you that I hate book signings. For the most part I do because lots of times no one shows up and I sit there reading a good book (my own) and directing passersby to the restroom.

When I have had successful book signings at stores (by successful, I mean I sold at least 30 to 50 books), here’s what I did:

  1. When planning the book signing with the store manager, I asked to be at the store on a big sales day of the year. The best time is any Friday or Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  2. I made sure the manager planned to get the word out, including putting up flyers or signs in the store (which I provided), submitting an article to the local newspapers, (which I wrote), and sending out e-mails to the store’s clientele OFTEN about the book signing.
  3. I called or e-mailed several days before the book signing to make sure the manager had ordered enough books. If not, I offered to bring my own just as a backup.Rachel.Mrs.H.Rebekah.Bk.Signing.Wellsboro.7.7.12
  4. On the day of the book signing, I’ve had a friend with me to walk throughout the store handing out my business cards or a small token gift like a bookmark and inviting them to my table. Often, I’ve been parked in the BACK of the store, and if I didn’t let folks know I was back there, they never saw me. (I have a friend who has tween twin girls, who wear cowgirl outfits and help me “sell” by roaming the store or standing in front of the store and handing out my business cards. Often kids can get more of a response than adults.)
  5. I offered some kind of deal, i.e. if anyone bought my whole Keystone Stables series, he/she got a free gift like a plastic model horse or a small jewelry box with a horse picture on the front, etc. (Recently I sold three complete sets of eight books each because of my “special” deal.) Other times, I’ve offered one of my other girl/horse books or I knocked off all the tax and wrapped the set in a gift pack with some binder twine, a tiny plastic horse tied on the front of the pack, and a book mark.
  6. If traffic was slow, I got out from behind the table and introduced myself to folks in other parts of the store.
  7. I looked for businesses besides book stores that might want me to have a book signing. I have done fairly well at a large local hardware store and at a horse equipment and saddle shop. Of course, horse books would be a natural sell at stores like this. (Study where “your market” hangs out and go for it!)

Now, after you’ve done everything in your power to pull this off, if store traffic is still real slow, as such was the case with a book signing I had a few weeks ago, you have to just sit and smile, maybe work on your next novel on your laptop, and write the day off as a loss.

You just never know how book signings are going to go. Swallow your pride and try again at another store as soon as you can make the contact. Making money? Are you kidding? You’ll probably break even with the cost of gasoline, but book signings are all about promotion anyway, not in any way to make you rich.

Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables Books


(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers’ Blog) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com


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