Monday, October 28, 2013

New Call for NaNoWriMo Participants!

Bring out the coffee! Uncap the eye drops! It's that time of the year again!

Are you new to NaNoWriMo? Are you a veteran? This is the place for you to share your experience! I'd like to create a series of guest blog posts showcasing NaNoWriMo participants and their experiences with this year's challenge.

If you'd like to be featured as a NaNoWriMo author, please send an email to this address with the following information:

nadinucca (at) hotmail (dot) com

1) Name or nickname + your photo (optional)

2) Blog and/or Twitter handle

3) Is this your first time participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what made you take the plunge? If you're a vet, how do you feel about tackling it yet again this year?

4) What's your project? Include name (if any), genre, brief synopsis... whatever you'd like to share!

5) How are you approaching NaNo? Are you in the midst of a writing frenzy, or do you have a carefully thought-out plan?

6) Have you learned anything from this experience so far? Is there any advice you would like to share with other NaNoWriMoers?

7) Send a short excerpt from your project! I'd love to share what you're working on!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lie - Lay - Lying - Laying

Let's take a look at this simple sentence, shall we?

He laid down in the bed of leaves and fell asleep.

Is it correct? What do you think?

The answer is: NOPE!

Correct: He lay down in the bed of leaves and fell asleep.

This is a common confusion because the verbs are so gosh darn similar! "Lie" and "lay" are so similar, in fact, that their different forms overlap. However, the use and the meaning are different.


1. Can you use the verbs "put" or "set" instead? Then use "lay*."
2. Can you use the verb "recline" instead? Then use "lie*."

* CAREFUL! See the conjugation below.


"Lay" is a transitive verb. That means it needs a direct object.
"Lie" is an intransitive verb. That means it doesn't need a direct object.

But what does all this MEAN???

Let's look at "lay" first:

The meaning of "lay" is to put or place something somewhere.

LAY (put or place something somewhere)

Base form: lay
Past tense: laid
Past participle: laid
Present participle: laying

It's a transitive verb, which means that when you use the verb "lay", you need to "lay something."

Could you please lay the book on the table?
She laid the boxes next to the car.
The road workers are laying the new sidewalk today. (This one is actually more like a coined expression.)

Secondly, we have the intransitive verb "lie."

LIE (recline)

Base form: lie
Past tense: lay
Past participle: lain
Present participle: lying

This one doesn't use an object, so you don't need to add a "something." The meaning of "lie" is to recline. You can also say "lie down."

When I go to bed, my cat always lies (down) right on top of me.
He worked for eighteen hours yesterday, so the moment he got home he lay down to sleep.

EXTRA: Don't forget there's also the verb "lie" with the meaning to tell something that is not true.

LIE (tell an untruth)

Base form: lie
Past tense: lied
Past participle: lied
Present participle: lying

I hope this is helpful!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Halloween Quiz Game Book: How Spooktacular Are You? by Larissa Larsen

Today's review is for Halloween Quiz Game Book: How Spooktacular Are You?

Up until now, I had only read what I would call "regular" ebooks. This one is different. The format is fun (albeit sometimes a tad confusing) as you jump from one link to another answering different Halloween-related questions. Keep track of how many you answer correctly on the first try! Once you reach the end, you can see how well you did (I'm a "Spookcatular Expert", hehe). Great big images accompany the questions, and because I was reading on my computer's Cloud Reader (I don't actually own a Kindle), a lot of the text was left hanging so sometimes I encountered just one line or one word alone on a page. I suppose that with an actual Kindle that does not happen, since the screens are quite different.

There are many questions, all related to Halloween or typical Halloween creatures such as Frankenstein's monster. This is great for the kids, and also for anyone looking to pass a pleasant time while discovering neat tidbits about this holiday. I especially liked the explanation about the meaning of the witches' cauldron (I didn't know that one!).

That being said, I personally would have preferred longer answers for most of the questions. For example, there is a question regarding Jack-o'-Lanterns, and I feel the answer held missed potential for a nice story regarding the origin of the term, and why pumpkins are used now instead of the original "lanterns" (do you know what they were?). Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised when, at the end of the quiz, I discovered a few pages with historical and fun facts such as the origin of Halloween, "souling," and many others explained in a clear and easy way.

Also at the back of the book, the author suggests some community-friendly Halloween activities, and offers several links to a selection of further holiday reading.

Overall, I would recommend this quick and interactive read to families and teachers. I can imagine using this with my ESL students, or using it with small children. The images are well-chosen and you can complete the entire quiz and the final information in around forty minutes.

For its quirky genre, I would give it a 4 over 5.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Hildie at the Ghost Shore by Paula Cappa

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the short story Hildie at the Ghost Shore by Paula Cappa. This short was previously published in the magazine Fiction365, and now you can download it for free in your preferred format from Smashwords.

Cappa combines magical storytelling with historical and supernatural elements to show you the story of rune-reader Hildie as she reads the fortune of a mysterious visitor.

The tale of Hildie at the Ghost Shore is revealed to readers at a leisurely pace, laced with evocative descriptions of the heroine's surroundings. While the start is somewhat slow for a 2,000-word story, it allows you to feel the magic surrounding Hildie and her little corner overlooking the Ghost Shore.

The most positive aspects of the short are the writing itself (completely error-free, something I truly value), and the author's knack for drawing the reader in to a world of Norse mythology. The ending is also thought-provoking and I would definitely like to see the story continue from there.

The main thing I missed here was a bit more action throughout. As I mentioned above, the pace is leisurely, and while I am more drawn to action and high-risk scenes, the slowness of Hildie at the Ghost Shore lets you feel the characters and, most of all, the setting. After reading, I feel it is probably the best way to tell this story, as Cappa gently takes you by the hand and draws you in to her imagination.

Overall, I would give Hildie at the Ghost shore a 3.5 over 5. While not precisely my cup of tea, I can still admire Cappa's storytelling capabilities. I would recommend this story to anyone interested in Norse mythology, runes, and, as the story's description states, "quiet little mysteries." While reading, it somehow reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe's A Descent into the Maelstrom.

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