Friday, January 30, 2015

Three new audiobooks out!

The talented Carrie Lee Martz has been working hard in her recording studio and we now have three more audiobooks to show for it! "I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course," my award-winning book of humorous essays; "Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection", and a short story set in Louisiana, "If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place". All three are available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. Listen to a sample, I'm betting you'll like them!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Open Book Society's review of "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person"!

Thanks to Heidi & Andra at The Open Book Society for the wonderful review of "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person"! xoxo

Check out my guest post on Beck Valley Books! :-)

Thank-you to Sharon for inviting me to write a guest post for her wonderful blog!
Be sure to check out Beck Valley Books for used, rare and out of print books. :-)

Finding hard to find titles, unusual titles, lovely old books and even modern titles was a booklover's dream......There's nothing better than holding a lovely old book in your hands, knowing it has its own unique history.  We have now found ourselves with thousands of used, rare and out of print  books, selling them worldwide on our website at  You can always rely on our friendly service.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Free on Amazon today: "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person" :-)

My new book, "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person" is free today on Amazon Kindle, check it out!

Fear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person is here and she has the answers to all of the questions you never thought to ask. As a dedicated and serious grammarian, she will do what it takes to be entertaining and enlightening, but never vulgar or coarse. Heavens, no! Where are her smelling salts? Warm and witty, Mrs. G.P. makes grammar interesting with rhyming, wishful thinking, story-telling and a champagne toast. You are cordially invited to join her for a spot of tea!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Fear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person knows you've been working hard and is sure that you deserve a break. To that end, she has invited you to join her for tea and, while you rest up, she will tell you a story. Mrs. G.P. reminds us that all writing should tell a story and have a proper beginning, middle, and end. But, what is the glue that holds it all together? Mrs. G. P. is glad you asked that--you talented grammarians! She will explain everything by and by, but, for now, she asks that you sit back, sip your Darjeeling and relax. Chocolate biscuit, anyone?

What kind of story would you like to hear? Our favorite grammarian has a wonderful idea, one that includes audience participation--a "build-your-own-story", if you like. Once she begins her tale, please pay attention and, whenever she pauses, you may fill in the blank from the choices she provides. Are you ready?
Once upon a time, there was a lonely monkey/orphan/misshapen potato making his way through the world as best he could. If anyone asked him, he would say that all he ever wanted in life was the chance to marry a stockbroker/judge a beauty contest/compete on Jeopardy, but he knew that this dream was out of reach, so he looked for a job instead.  Nobody would to give him a chance; they all said he was too cantankerous/sleep-deprived/mountaineering. Frustrated, our hero turned to a life of crime and stole the king's favorite grilled cheese sandwich/talking parrot/thesaurus.
After that fateful day, our hero had to live on the run, or risk prison. In the beginning, he believed he needed only three things to survive. First, he needed his wits; second, his nerve; and finally, his silly string/pet ocelot/castanets. Also, he could have used a friend. In addition, finding a hot meal seemed fairly urgent. To be sure, he wasn't used to such a hard life. If only he could find his favorite food: figgy pudding/milk moustache/fried grasshoppers, he knew he would feel better. Equally important was a place to rest his head, preferably somewhere without bedbugs/fleas/a mint on the pillow. Finally, after searching everywhere, our hero found the perfect job, one that provided food and shelter, friendship and camaraderie. Above all, it gave him a reason to get up in the morning. In short, it was the best job ever, notwithstanding the fact that he was covered with dirt and mud all the time. In sum, he was deliriously happy working as a golf ball retriever/gopher tracker/dumpster diver and was quite good at it. As a result, he eventually earned the king's pardon. It also helped that he returned the king's grilled cheese sandwich/talking parrot/thesaurus. At last, our tale is done.  
More tea, anyone? Now that you have enjoyed our little story, it's time to talk about that glue, the handy words and phrases that connect our disparate thoughts and make them flow like a gentle brook through a verdant meadow, like caramel syrup over creamy custard, like--well, you get the picture. What are these useful links called? Anyone? Yes! They are transition words and are in bold above. While all of them are connectors, they serve different functions.
Some transitional words are used to indicate similarity. A few examples are: in addition, likewise, furthermore, in the same way, and as well as.
Contrastingly, some transitional words are used to indicate dissimilarity or contradiction. A few examples are: in contrast, on the other hand, although, and yet, and however.
Other transitional words are used for emphasis. A few examples are: in fact, indeed, of course, truly, and even.
And some transitional words are used for place or position. A few examples are: above, adjacent to, beyond, below, and in front.
Yet other transitional words are used to indicate consequence. A few examples are: as a result, consequently, accordingly, thus, and therefore.
Still other transitional words are used to indicate sequence. A few examples are: after, during, earlier, to begin with, and next.
Other transitional words are used to indicate exemplifying. A few examples are: specifically, such as, namely, to illustrate, and for example. 

In this next group, transitional words are used to show the priority of the writer's thoughts. A few examples are: above all, in the first place, of less/greater importance, moreover, and for one reason.
In the following group, transitional words are used to provide additional support or evidence.  A few examples are: additionally, equally important, furthermore, in addition, and moreover.
In our final group, transitional words are used to show conclusion or summary, usually of an essay. A few examples are: in conclusion, in short, in summary, to conclude, and thus. 

Congratulations! You have mastered the concept of transitions--and without even trying. Look at Mrs. Grammar Person beaming with pride. But, don't go yet, please have another biscuit as Mrs. G.P. has one more thing to tell you and it is this: no matter what you write, be it a novel, a treatise, an essay, or a poem, you always have the same three goals: present the problem, work through the problem, resolve the problem. Once you've learned how to write a beginning, a middle and an end, you'll be able to tell your own stories. And what could be better than that? Nothing--except for tea with Mrs. Grammar Person, of course.


Thursday, January 1, 2015


Fear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person is here--and it seems that she has arrived just in time! The sight of you pulling your hair out and chewing your nails makes her sorry she didn't arrive sooner. But no need to fret, Mrs. G.P can see what the problem is and although she wishes there were a simple solution, alas, there is not. The truth is that the subjunctive tense is tricky and before she can begin to explain it, our favorite grammarian will need a strong pot of tea and some lovely biscuits. If you are in the neighborhood, you're welcome to join her for tea; she always buys extra biscuits, just in case.

Ah, much better! Now, Mrs. G.P. is ready to discuss the tense which makes everyone tense, the strange and wonderful, wonderfully strange subjunctive, the tense that allows us to engage in wishful thinking, to imagine things as they might have been, and to impose our will on others as if we were royalty, which, happily, we are not--and that's why we had to use the subjunctive.

We may not be royalty, Mrs. Grammar Person says, but we can still impose our will on others by insisting, demanding, commanding, urging, proposing, requesting, suggesting, asking, advising, recommending, and desiring that they take a particular action. Before you beg off with a migraine, please allow Mrs. G.P. to explain that the subjunctive tense often looks identical to the indicative tense--depending on whom you are bossing around. For example, "They walk to the park" is indicative. "I insist that they walk to the park" is subjunctive, but walk is still walk. So, why all the fuss? The fuss comes about when the speaker imposes his will on him or her (and sometimes them). Let's try it again see what happens. "He walks to the park" is indicative. "I demand that he walk to the park" is subjunctive. We see how the verb has changed, don't we?

Other ways we can impose our will on others (thereby requiring the use of the subjunctive) is with the following expressions:
It is important (that)
It is recommended (that)
It is urgent (that)
It is vital (that)
It is a good idea (that)
It is a bad idea (that)
It is best (that)
It is crucial (that)
It is desirable (that)
It is essential (that)
It is imperative (that)

Sometimes we are feeling more hopeful than willful, but even when we wish or hope for something to occur, we must still use the subjunctive. "I wish my brother weren't so stubborn" is wishful thinking because the speaker's brother is clearly stubborn and seems unlikely to change.

The most important thing to remember is that the subjunctive is used to describe conditions that are not true, as well as for commands, wishes, and requests. Most commonly, the subjunctive is used to describe a hypothetical situation, one that isn't likely to happen, such as, "If she were any tinier, she would be an ant." A factual statement would be: "When she was very tiny, she was just a baby."

Generally, a clause followed by "when" takes the indicative, and a clause followed by "if" takes the subjunctive.

Mrs. Grammar Person knows exactly what your next question will be--it's one of her many talents. You want to know how to use the subjunctive in the past tense. Well, it's quite simple. To use the past subjunctive you need only remember: had, as if and as though. The subjunctive is found after "as if" or "as though" and is used to indicate an unreal situation:

He was running as if he were being chased by aliens. (Let's hope not!)

She stared at me as if I were guilty. (I was framed!)

He talked about prison as though he had been there, himself. (Poseur!)

When we use the word "had" for the past subjunctive, the word "if" is understood, but not stated: Had he known about the rain, he wouldn't have gone to the concert. (We hope he enjoyed the concert, anyway.)

And now you've done it, you've learned the subjunctive! Mrs. Grammar Person congratulates you for mastering this difficult task so quickly. You are truly gifted grammarians, she says. As she sees the last of you out with a heartfelt good-bye, she sighs and murmurs to herself, "Oh, how I wish I were younger."

A familiar voice behind her answers, "My dear, I insist that you take that back."

Mrs. G.P. turns around and gives her friend a smile. "But, Mr. Syntax, it's true! Had I known then what I know now, just think what I could have accomplished!"

The gentleman takes both of her hands in his. "You are the incomparable Mrs. Grammar Person and I wouldn't change one thing about you. You are perfect just the way you are."

Our favorite grammarian squeezes his hand and blushes, but says nothing. Something remarkable has happened--for the first time in her life, Mrs. Grammar Person cannot think of anything to say. Her words have escaped her, taking wing together for one joyful moment in time.