Those ly Words




The use of “ly” words tends to be frowned on by the majority of writers and sites where one finds writing tips.

There is an excellent word detective at Hemingway which is free. The software will highlight all those “ly” words, let you know if the writing is too difficult to read, and whether or not the writing uses passive voice.

In addition, there is a paid version, for Mac and Windows at a reasonable price.*

*Note: this is my personal opinion and I receive no remuneration for writing about this product.

I find that a lot of words ending in “ing” annoy me. My first drafts tend to contain a lot of them.

I am also annoyed by a certain popular bestselling author who writes “a couple apples”. Not a couple “of” apples, but “a couple apples”. I suspect this may be a regional thing, because where I live the “of” is acceptable. Nevertheless, this author uses the phrase constantly and it detracts from my reading. I have given up her books because of the passages that jumped out at me as I read. I couldn’t enjoy reading and ignore those phrases.

Now, it just so happens that one of my favorite writers uses adverbs a lot. I notice an adverb now and then, but I enjoy the books.

I have read online, too, that the writer should avoid using “was”, “just” and “that”. I don’t agree. I think that one can get so bogged down with “rules” that writing becomes a chore rather than inspiration on paper (or computer, phone, etc). While writing can be hard work at times, it should also bring some joy and satisfaction too.

Whatever your pet peeve may be, keep writing and keep reading.

Fall or Autumn?




I thought today about the differences between people, and especially the differences in speech.
For instance, is the upcoming season (in the Northern Hemisphere) fall or autumn? Perhaps both?

A lot depends on the region where one lives.

When I moved, as a child, from the east to the west part of the country, I soon learned that the “rubbers” I wore on my feet when it rained, were called “boots”. (When I grew up, I learned that “rubbers” are an entirely different thing)
And a “rubber” that corrected pencil marks was called an “eraser”.

“Potatoes” and “spuds” and “cookies” and “biscuits”.
This latter is a difference between North America and the UK.
In the UK, “sausages” are “bangers” and the “hood” of a vehicle is a “bonnet”.
A “truck” here, is a “lorry” over there.

As a teenager, I was so critical of my mother’s speech. If she used the “wrong” word or the “wrong” pronunciation. Of course, I got over that behavior and attitude when I became an adult.
And of course, I’d give anything now to have her back, mistakes in speech and all, because we do miss our parents when they have passed on.

So I guess my point is this – as a writer, words can be used to set a scene and to develop and flesh out a character. In writing, the “right” word can make a big difference.

In speech, the differences between people are not so important. That is one of the things that makes us human.

Some Poems


I don’t try my hand at poetry much anymore. I concentrate on short stories and novels.

Over the Hill

It rained again today.

The world seemed fresh and new.

The rainbow’s candy colors

Were bright against the blue.


It may have been the springtime

Or perhaps I’m getting old

But I almost could believe in

A rainbow pot of gold.



When I was a child, I had a place

That only my dog and I knew.

There were trees, a pond, and a grassy hill,

Where the four leaf clovers grew.


I went there often in the summer

Alone, because my friends were few.

There were birds and flowers and dreams to dream

Where the four leaf clovers grew.


Sometimes I went in the early morn

When the grass still glistened with dew.

I could laugh, I could cry, or watch the clouds,

Where the four leaf clovers grew.


Too soon I grew up and lost the way

And this feeling is sad but true

I long to go back to those days and that place

Where the four leaf clovers grew.



I am alone

Alone on a hill

A hill above

the city

The city lights are bright

Bright as stars in the country

In the country is where I belong

I belong with you

With you

In the country

Under the stars

Not in the bright

lights of the city

not on a hill alone







The age old questions, “Is there life after death?” and “What happens when we die?” are worthy of some thought.

In 2003, my elderly mother was ill with pneumonia. Her health improved slightly, and I went to bed that night thinking that she might get better.

I had a dream.

The sun was warm and I could feel it beaming down on my shoulders. The air was clear and fresh. There was a crowd of people, who wore bright colors of red and blue and yellow. They were gathered in a group, and somehow I was walking toward them with my mother.

There were flowers – oh! so many flowers of all colors, growing in the lush green carpet of grass.

And then, I was jolted awake. My husband was beside me, and he gently touched my shoulder.

“The nursing home just called, and your mom has passed away.”

Oh, how devastating. I thought she had more time. And the dream? Had I accompanied her to heaven?

In June of this year, 2016, my elderly cat, aged 21 years, one month and twenty one days, was seemingly healthy and doing well.

He threw up occasionally, but overall was in good health, played and ran through the house now and then, although he slept a lot too.

On this morning, I got up early, and noticed he’d thrown up in the hallway. I took a paper towel and wiped up the spot. There was dry cat food, but also some bright red blood.

I discussed this with my husband, and we decided it was time to have kitty put to sleep. He’d been waking us through the night for several months, to be fed, and sometimes fell when trying to jump up on a chair or the sofa.

We took him in to the vet later in the afternoon. The vet was careful to explain what we might expect as she administered two medicines – one to put kitty to sleep and then one to stop his heart.

Kitty went very easily and quietly. It was over very fast.

That evening, we were in the computer room, and listening to amateur radio.

About eight o’clock, I heard, “Meow.”

I said to my husband, “Did you hear that?”

“Yes,” he said, “It was probably my chair squeaked.”

I know that while his office chair is a relic, it has never “meowed.”

We were in the computer room several times over the next many days, and have not heard any sound like a “Meow” since.

I believe that both of these instances were proof that there is life beyond.

My mother and I were very close. I think that she wanted me to be there with her as she passed away.

I think that kitty came to say, “Goodbye.”