Tuesday, 3 May 2016

þ in your side?

Sometimes I wish we kept the letter þ (thorn). It's a shame it disappeared from our alphabet.

Want to know more? Go google it. While I was touching on some research for the letter þ, I made the mistake of reading the commentary on the bottom of the articles.

Stupid  me. Everyone knows you never read the comments on articles. They're full of aþþholes' vapid opinions.

Monday, 2 May 2016

& (Ampersand)

Looks like a treble clef sometimes.
I love how the English alphabet once considered the stylish ampersand (&) a letter of its own.

I'll use it from time to time as it was intended, but only in casual speech--never formal.

I know it represents the latin 'et', meaning 'and'. Who doesn't? It arose as a form of shorthand that stuck in common usage.

I can understand why it was removed from the English alphabet and have no quarrels over it's demotion.

Question: What are your thoughts on the ampersand as a letter of the alphabet?

Her Grace will have a soft spot for the ampersand but will not lend it any additional airs or graces.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Z - Ze End (maybe)

Michael Cui gets it.
Yeah, Z is another one of those awkward letters in an A to Z list, especially with a theme about reading. (I read The Zephyr once.)

Me, I'm just glad I've nearly gotten to the end of the A to Z Challenge. I've read some good blogs and met some fascinating new people.

This year was much easier, thanks to some lessons I learned from last year. Will I blog A to Z again next year? I think I very well might. Let us see how life goes then. I'll still have grad school, I'll still have books coming out and I'll still have lawns to mow. I wonder what I'll learn about myself between now and then?

Question: What did you enjoy most about the A to Z Challenge? Did you find any new fascinating blogs? Did someone's post really stick out to you? Do share.

Her Grace invites you to tune in Monday and Tuesday where she continues the alphabet with two letters that have disappeared recently from the English language.


I'm sure you've noticed the datestamp on this post.

Yes, I was supposed to post Y yesterday, but things happen.

A few days ago Second Ladyship asked me what kind of superpower I would like. I told her I would like power over Time. I wish I could hoard or spend time the way I do money. Sometimes, like the next few weeks, I've got too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. Other times I've got a spare five minutes and nothing really useful with which to fill it. If only I could squirrel away those five minute coins into a really useful hour's worth of free time, that would be marvelous.

This week I have:

  • A book fair coming up. Have a few things left to prep for this.
  • Collaboration with other post-grad students on a science mission to Saturn's moon of Enceladus.
  • Analysis paper on all the missions to Mars (Viking, Curiosity, etc) in relation to astrobiology.
  • Massive cleaning.
Three of those things are really cool. One of them is not. They are all taking up my time.

List of things I wish I was doing this week, but don't have time:
  • Writing. Yep, I won't get a single word of fiction in over the next couple of weeks. Sorry, Amanda.
  • More promo for Her Endearing Young Charms, which is out 20 May.
  • Painting that long-overdue mural on my office wall.
  • Binge-watching something on TV. Normally I get maybe an hour or so a week. Yes, I spend more time exercising in the pool than I do watching TV.
  • Reading. Have several books I bought in my TBR pile a few weeks ago that I haven't gotten around to cracking yet.
  • Sit at the beach on a warm Djeran afternoon.
Things I'm glad I don't have to do this week:
  • taxes
  • full-time Day Job work
  • piano practice
  • lawnmowing
  • riding the bus due to a broken-down car
  • social work
So here's to Yesterday.

Why yes, I am a fan of The Beatles.

If you're also a fan, you might enjoy fellow blogger, music enthusiast, author, and fellow Woodland Creature (and regular Carkoon resident) Colin Smith's A to Z challenge dedicated to flash fiction inspired by Paul McCartney songs. It's so cool; check it out.

Her Grace may forgo blogging for a few weeks while she finishes her astrobiology obligations.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

X marks the Spot

Remember my confession for dog ears?

Today I talk bookmarks. I have a friend who, every time she buys a new hardcopy book, also gets it its very own bookmark to keep forever.  (I've got one or two bookmarks here and there. Otherwise I don't really bother.) Yes, I'm that gal who leaves books open face-down instead of sticking the nearest shopping receipt in to mark my place.  Then again, I'm that gal who slips used lottery scratchies in the backs of library books.

When I worked in the library, if we found a bookmark left in a book, we'd take it out and file it in our lost and found, in case someone came looking for it. And they did. You'd be surprised at how many people are attached to their bookmarks. At least, I was. Granted, some of them were really  nice, like cross stitched ones, those pretty metallic ones with a butterfly on the overleaf, and so on.

Bookmarks have other uses, I'm told. Many a fellow author has recommended bookmarks as handouts (instead of business cards or postcards) at literary conventions. People always have books at conventions (at least, the kinds of conventions I go to), and some of them bother to read them there. Hand them a bookmark and they'll most likely stick it in a book. I see the wisdom of this, as the reader will look at the bookmark every single time they open the book. Multiple, repeated exposure.

Must try that sometime.

Question: are you an avid proponent of bookmarks, casual user or a dog-earing, open-faced villain like me?
Her Grace hates having to come up with entries for the letter X on A-Z lists because X is a very lame letter in the English language. Why on earth do we still have it?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Duh. It all comes down to the words--the ones we choose, the order we put them in, the number of them we use. They can be a powerful sword or a limp noodle. We're all writers, and some of the more pretentious of us call ourselves 'wordsmiths' (wankers).

Frankly, I can't be bothered buying into the mysticism of The Word. For me, they're just the stuff I use to make my books pretty.

I'd much rather play with them like tiddlywinks.

Rhyming's fun.

So are iambs and trochees. Setting up rhythm patterns and then filling in the blank for instant poetry is a nice pasttime for lazy afternoons.
Here. Write your own limerick:

A _____  ______'/_____  ______'/_____  ______'/
A _____  ______'/_____  ______'/_____  ______'/
B _____  ______'/_____  ______'/
B _____  ______'/_____  ______'/
A _____  ______'/_____  ______'/_____  ______'/

Playing with synonyms is fun, especially if you're looking for a particular shade of a word to compliment the atmosphere of a scene.  By substituting a different word for 'said', you can alter the mood of a conversation.  

"Where are we?" Tom said.
"Where are we?" Tom laughed.
"Where are we?" Tom whimpered.
"Where are we?" Tom shouted.
"Where are we?" Tom whispered.
"Where are we?" Tom groaned.

So yeah. Play some games. But when it comes to the craft, when it comes to writing, I don't give too much thought to words. I just let 'em flow.

Her Grace can't be bothered with a postscript today.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


So, to follow up from yesterday, I received a proof copy of Her Endearing Young Charms.

My job is to look it over--scrutinise it, really--for errata. If any are found, they are to be corrected.

Okay, no problem. It's not like I've not done this before. I've gone over e-proofs all the time.

But when I pulled this paperback out from the posting envelope and looked at its glossy cover, the reality struck me hard.

Here is a book, I thought. A real, genuine, hold-in-my-hand book. No wonder people still love paperbacks. Nothing says 'real' than one of these:

Question: Has there ever been a moment when the reality of something struck you?

Her Grace felt the same way when she finished the first draft of her first completed novel.