Don’t forget to proof the cover, and headers/footers

First, let’s find last clichés:

Going Over With a Fine-Tooth Comb— To investigate or search for with great care. Combs have been around since ancient Egypt, and some had finer teeth than others, the term “fine tooth comb” dates from the first half of the 19th century. The transfer of combing out nits to other kinds of searches took place only in the late 19th century.

Worship ground one walks on—to hold in reverent regard. This hyperbole for deep romantic feeling or great admiration has an archaic sound. Christopher Hale used it in Murder in Two (1943).

Time of My Life—An occasion of outstanding enjoyment. A colloquial Americanism term from the late 19th century which gained currency throughout the English-speaking world in the 20th century. William Saroyan used it as the title of his 1939 play, The Time of Your Life.

There’s the Rub—That’s the impediment or there’s the drawback. This might come from the ancient game of bowls, in which rub refers to the unevenness in the ground that hindered or diverted the free movement of the bowl. In late 16th century it was transferred to other kinds of hindrance. However this expression gained widespread movement through Shakespeare’s use of it in Hamlet’s soliloquy in 3:1.

So, how many did you find?

I’m going to stand my ground and say that proofing your book before publishing is very important. I thought I was finished proofing and corrected a few words on the cover as well as items in the interior of the book. Then I did one more read through with CreateSpace review launcher.  What did I find?

Well, I took a closer look at the headers and footers. All even page headers have my name; odd page headers have my title.  Oops! Not a done deal. Then I looked at library books and realized that the first page of each chapter has no header. So back to my manuscript to correct. No sweat, I’ll just delete them. Unfortunately, sometimes I would do that, and all of the headers would disappear! Now what?

I looked into my Words for Dummies book and found out about sections in your manuscript – each chapter is a section. I was able to make sure that all first pages of a chapter were also a first page of a section. Then, all went well.  Until I did that, it did not.

I’ve learned so much by formatting my own novel for CreateSpace, but it has been frustrating at times and has taken a long time. But, I believe well worth it in my accumulation of knowledge. Of course you can avoid all of this by having your designer do the interior of your book.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,


Still Proofing

Well, I’m still reading Vanity Killed Proof!

First, last clichés:

Make or Break you—To bring on ruin or success. This phrase began as make or mar, which dates from 15th century (see John Lydgate, Assembly of Gods). Dickens was among the first to substitute the current rhyming cliché (Barnaby Rudge, 1840).

In the same boat as—Be in similar circumstances or in same position. This expression alludes to risks shared by all those present in a small boat at sea and dates from the time of the ancient Greeks and has been used figuratively for many centuries. Often stated as all in the same boat (See Artemus Ward, the Draft in Baldinsville, 1862).

Get wind of something—Hear a rumor; acquire knowledge. This expression transfers the ability of animals to detect the approach of others from their scent carried by the wind. Originated in 1800, the term appeared in print in B. H. Malkin’s translation of Gil Blas (1809).

Inside track—A position of special advantage. This term comes from racing, referring to the inner or shorter track of a course, on which it is easier to win. Originated in America in mid-19th century. See Oliver Wendell Holmes, Guardian Angel, 1867.

So, how many did you find?

Well, I’ve been going over my proof book of Vanity Killed with a fine-tooth comb. Yes, I’ve found a few mistakes I missed and will be correcting them.

I now worship the ground my book designer walks in. I think it would have been worth it to pay her to do the interior. Maybe there wouldn’t have been so much time and effort involved.

Am I having the time of my life? No, however, I am learning so much and I also believe that maybe my book designer would not have caught some of the corrections I need to make. And, of course, maybe she would have caught a lot more. Therein, lies the rub, but I will keep proofing!

I might even have someone else who is not familiar with the book read my proof before having it published.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,



Proofing your Book

Vanity Killed has been uploaded and I’m waiting for the “proof” book to arrive shortly.

First, let’s do the Last Clichés:

Have the Upper Hand—To be in a controlling position or dominating. This has been around since the 15th Century. It’s derived from an ancient gambling game where each player in turn puts one hand on a stick, beginning at the bottom, and the last one able to put his hand at the top wins. See Miles Coverdale’s translation of Psalm 9:19.

Throw a Monkey Wrench in the Works—To sabotage a plan or operation. In Britain, the monkey wrench, called an “adjustable spanner” reminded someone of a monkey’s jaws, which loosely resemble the sliding jaws of this very useful tool. This name was acquired about the middle of the 19th Century. Not until the early 20th Century that it became associated with sabotage. This idea first appeared in print in 1920 in Philander Johnson’s story, Shooting Stars. This phrase caught on in America and was adopted in Britain as well, but it was in the form of throw a spanner in the works.

Second Nature—A deeply ingrained habit that makes one behave as if by instinct. This is very old – used by Plutarch, Montaigne, and other early writers.  Modern version dates from early 1900s. See The Confidential Clerk, T. S. Eliot (1954).

Don’t Lose your Cool (Cool It)—To calm down. This is a slangy Americanism and emerged about 1950. It caught on rapidly. Came from the usage of “cool” to mean calm and unflustered. See E. Gilbert, Hot and Cool, 1953. Related expressions: keep one’s cool=remain calm, antonym= to lose/blow one’s cool= losing one’s composure.

How many did you find?

I went to a J.A. Jance reading and she said that the Indians always said you should have at least one mistake in what you do, because only the Creator is perfect.  I thought that was very interesting.

So, did you catch the mistake in my last post?   “Because wants you upload it…” try: once.

And those are the kinds of mistakes the will make or break you in publishing.  When you finally get your cover and manuscript uploaded into CreateSpace, you order a proof of your finished book. You can get a pdf, digital and print on demand copy. I did all three. The POD costs less than $10.00 (depending on the size of your book) to have one shipped to you. Then you read the book from cover to cover and look for mistakes. All kinds of mistakes, because you don’t want to be in the same boat as those who don’t look for mistakes, because they think they are perfect.

Hopefully you’ve gotten wind of my blog that tells you how to and where to go to learn to create your manuscript and book for self-publishing. I had to read my blog from 2013 to remind me what to do to publish. CreateSpace has detailed, step by step instructions for you. They will give you the inside track on how to succeed.

Follow their instructions and no matter how many times you have to, re-edit, re-edit and re-read and re-read your book to avoid mistakes that will make your book amateurish, do it.

Keep Writing and Reading,



Well, my editor finished with Vanity Killed and now it’s my turn to revise once more.

First, let’s review last times clichés.

Get a Rise out of someone (reader) – To provoke to action or to anger. This phrase probably comes from fishing. The angler drops a fly in a spot and lets it float, hoping that the fish will rise to the bait. Then this was transferred to figurative use—getting someone to lose her or his temper. This is from the early 19th century. See Thackeray (Catherine, 1840).

The Ring of Truth – It sounds genuine. This alludes to the practice of judging a genuine coin by its “ring” or sound, which dates from the days when coins had intrinsic value because they were made of precious metals. Frederick W. Robinson used it in a sermon in 1850.

Johnny-on-the-spot – A person who is present at a crucial time. From the 19th century America. An early appearance in print is in George Ade’s Arte (1896).

Good Samaritan – A selfless helper of anyone in distress. This comes from the biblical story (Luke 10:30-35) told by Jesus. He compared the treatment accorded to a man, robbed and left half dead, by a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The first two passed him by, but the Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him. The term “good Samaritan” does not appear in any of the translations of this parable, it evolved over the years.

Cock and bull story – A far-fetched tale, intended to deceive. This dates from approximately 1600, but its origin is obscure. Some believe it alludes to a fable or folktale about a cock and a bull. Others say it refers to the name of an English coaching inn, a wayside stop for travelers where such tales were often spun. By the 18th century it meant a tall tale.

So, how many did you find?

My editor finished with my manuscript and she fired away at each line for me. She highlighted and commented on grammar, repetitions, word changes, and what worked and what didn’t. Having your “baby” edited is like working your fingers to the bone, and doing it some more. Ana Manwaring from JAM Editorial Services not only went through line by line, but she also gave me an in-depth critique.

Right now I’m going through my hard copy writing down what she changed and what she commented on. First, I went through with all of her highlighted changes. But then I discovered that in some places she made changes, but forgot to highlight. So now, I’m going through line by line myself and catching the changes that were not highlighted! A lot of work, but well worth it in the end to have a much better manuscript for your readers.

When I’m finished with this process, then I’ll get down to brass tacks and work on the critique she gave me. More about that later.

Is the editing worth it? If you want to develop a following of readers and have your book sound true, then of course. Is it expensive? It’s all relative. I look at it like I’m taking a college course, yet it’s one on one with the professor. I learn so much and Ana Manwaring has made me a much better writer. Yes, it’s well worth it!

Keep Writing,


Making It Real

How do you make sure your scenes are real?

First, last times clichés:

In a Pinch – When hard-pressed. The British expression, “at a pinch,” is from the 15th century. See William Caxton in his translation of The Book of Faytes of Armes and of Chyualrye (1489). In 1888 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Black Arrow and used it as “in a pinch.” There’s a related expression “in a jam,” which implies that one is “squeezed” or “compressed,” by circumstances, into a tight spot.

Jet Set – A fashionable social group. This term originated in the 1950s soon after the introduction of jet-propelled aircraft travel. The term caught on rapidly. First applied to the affluent socialites who traveled around the world to fashionable resorts; later it was extended to a wealthy social group in general, whether or not its members actually traveled frequently. Jet set replaced the earlier version smart set, in America anyway.

On the Go – This is a repeated cliché I used in my blog on June 5, 2014. It’s from the 19th century, to be extremely active and busy.

So, how many did you find?

The best way to get a rise out of your reader is to write something that is not true or does not have a ring of truth. To avoid this, what do you do?

In Night Terror, I watched arson films, read books on arson and arsonists, interviewed two arson investigators, several firefighters, paramedics, and nurses. When I first started my book, there was an arson investigator Johnny-on-the-spot, and I had him over for dinner and interviewed him. If I was unsure about a scene, I would ask my husband who was a volunteer firefighter. I also called the local fire department and asked questions to make sure the scene was correct. One of my readers asked me if I was a firefighter.

As far as killing my characters, the best source is D.P. Lyle, M.D. who is a good Samaritan. I have his books: Murder and Mayhem, Forensics for Dummies, and Forensics and Fiction, and by using is website, the Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab ( he will work with writers and readers to make the stories they write and read more authentic. In my next book, Vanity Killed I emailed Dr. Lyle about my death scene to make sure it worked. I also asked him about a scene in my book I’m working on now.

So, if you don’t want to write a cock and bull story, do your research to make sure each scene is the best it can be.

Keep Writing,



Finally after my eye surgeries, I’m well enough to read and write for more than a few minutes. So, first things first -Last clichés:
let the cat out of the bag – To give away a secret. This dates from an ancient practice of substituting a worthless cat for a valuable suckling pig by a dishonest tradesman in a farmer’s market. When the poor unsuspecting buyer got home and opened the bag, the ct was revealed.

put all the cards on the table – To be completely candid, hide nothing. This term comes from numerous card games where the players must at some point turn their cards faceup and show their hands. This expression was transferred to a more general meaning in the late 16th Century.

rub elbows with – To associate unexpectedly closely with. Originted in Britain as rub shoulders with, which is still the more common expression there. Thackeray used it in his Book of Snobs (1848). The word “elbows” is prefered in America, as in Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906).

suffice it to say – It should be enough to state the following. This expression indicates that what follows is all that should be said about something and dates from the 17th Century. John Dryden used it in St. Evremont’s Miscellaneous Essays (1692).

So how many did you find?

Hopefully my editor does not have too many irons in the fire because my new novel Vanity Killed is now with Ana Manwaring from JAM Manuscript Editorial Services. She will give me an indepth edit. Then I will take a look at her suggestions, do any corrections needed, read it one last time or twice more and get it in the correct format for creating my book.

Editing your book is very important because you can read your manuscript over and over and still miss key expressions, or grammar, or context because it is our baby and sometimes we miss things or ignore things that should happen when they don’t. I won’t be as stubborn as a mule if my editor makes a suggestion I don’t like, but will take a hard look at it.

Having your manuscript edited is like taking a writing class one on one with a professor. You want to find an editor who is a good egg and who is familiar with your genre. That way the two of you can relate better and you will have more respect for their suggestions.

So when you have your manuscript self-edited to the point you think you should publish it, first have an editor go over it to make it even better. Yes it will cost you, but probably not more than taking a class or two at the college level. And, it is well worth it to have an edited book.

Keep Writing,


Re-Editing your manuscript

Now that I’ve edited from my critique group all of their great insights, it’s time to re-read my manuscript.

But first, last clichés:

Bag of tricks— Use of one’s entire resources. Goes back to the bag of the itinerant magician, which contained all of the items needed to perform his tricks. Dates back as far as LaFontaine’s fables (1694), where a fox carries a sac de ruses. Especially common in Victorian literature.

Truth to tellWhere you speak frankly and honestly. Another version of to tell the truth and it dates from the mid-1300s. Both phrases emphasize a statement, i.e. “Truth to tell, I hated that book.”

Spit and polish— When you use great care for a spotless and smart appearance. Originated in the armed services, where one used spit to hastily clean for an unexpected inspection. Term also came to mean more attention to appearance than to actual working efficiency. In WWI, “Spit and polish! We’re winning the war,” equaled a sarcastic expression used by those in front lines to the concerns of career officers sitting behind desks in the war office.

How many did you find?

So how am I re-editing my manuscript? First, I don’t want to run around in circles. I have a plan. I’ve gone through the entire book and I underlined all the verbs, adverbs, repeats, and questions in different colors. I used colored markers and in one color highlighted all of the action verbs, another color for passive verbs, another color for adverbs, another for repeated verbs or words/sentences on same page or page before or after, and another color for questions I might have on anything in my manuscript.

What questions? Well, if I couldn’t make heads or tails out of something I said, then I highlighted it to come back to later to correct.

Now, that I’ve highlighted all of those things, I’m re-reading the book by perusing the highlights, and fixing the repeats, making the passive verbs more vivid. For example: I had been going to go= I went. This changes my manuscript into reading like a man of few words.

You want your manuscript to be filled with action verbs, easy to understand, and creates emotion. Mark my words, this will all be worth it in the end. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but you want your book to be the best you can write. What will I do when I finish this process? I’ll read it backwards to catch any sentences that don’t make sense. Then I’ll send it to my editor to read.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,


Working on next Novel to be published

What do you do after you publish one novel? Well of course you work on publishing the next completed novel.

Last Clichès:

Get my teeth into (something)- Work energetically at something, come to grips with it. The image of sinking one’s teeth into something is probably much older, the expression comes from the early 20th Century. See Dorothy Sayer’s Gaudy Night (1935).

Hit or miss- Random, haphazard. This term probably comes from shooting or throwing at some kind of target. It was transferred early on to making an attempt of any kind, knowing that a person might succeed or fail. Used since the 16th century. See Shakespeare (Troilus and Cressida). It later appeared in several collections of proverbs.

On the dot- Exactly on time. The dot in question is the minutes indication on the face of a clock or watch. This term used since about 1900. Rex Stout used it to describe his compulsively punctual detective, Nero Wolfe. See Champagne for One (1958).

Can’t see beyond the end of my nose- Unable to grasp anything but the immediate problem or events, shortsighted. Term = a 16th century French proverb cited by several English writers. Later used in a fable, The Fox and the Goat by La Fontaine, and in Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man (1734).

On an even keel- Well balanced, in stable condition. The keel is the bottom of a boat hull, extending along its full length and forming its backbone. A boat is said to be on an even keel when it rides flat in the water, without tilting to either side. The image was used in human affairs in the mid-19th century.

So, how many did you find this time?

I’ve been going to my thriller critique group and after I published Night Terror, I immediately started in with the group on my next novel, working title Vanity Killed. I’m down to the last 4 chapters and as soon as I finish correcting what the critique group had issues with, I will reach into my bag of tricks and read one more time, then send to my editor. Why to an editor? Because, truth to tell, without someone editing your work, it just doesn’t come out professional. We get so close to our work, that we miss little things. After the editor, I will spit and polish my work. While the piece is at the editors, I will look through tons of photos online and find something for my book designer to work with.

Of course, while all of the above is happening, I will be working on the next novel and having it critiqued with my group.

And that is what you do after you publish your novel.

Keep writing,


You’ve Written Your Book. Now What?

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog, but I’m finally caught up, sort of, and here I am again.

First the last cliches:

kept up with the Joneses- means to attempt to live in the style of one’s more affluent neighbors or acquaintances. Comes from a cartoonist named Arthur R. (Pop) Momand. He used it as the title for a series run in the New York Globe from 1913 as well as other papers for several decades. It was based on his own experiences as a newly wed artist living in an affluent New York suburb on a limited salary. By mid-century was a cliche.

jump in with both feet-means to enter wholeheartedly.  Phrase is redundant–jump means to leap with the feet together as opposed to hop on one foot. 20th Century Americanism, may allude to jumping into a pool, rather than testing the water with one foot.

come to pass-means to happen. Most famous occurrence of this phrase = beginning of the Christmas story in Gospel of St. Luke (2:1) “And it came to pass in those days, …  Already a cliche by about 1700.

to get one’s second wind-means to proceed with renewed vigor after a lapse. This alludes to athletes, after initial breathlessness, warm up and resume their regular breathing.  In early 20th Century, this was transferred to other kinds of undertakings. See The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (1946)

to go hog wild-means to go berserk; to go crazy with excitement. Americanism dating from about 1905 and is a mysterious metaphor. Might refer to manic struggles of animals being taken away for slaughter or maybe an unseemly enthusiasm, like hogs being associated with negative characteristics.

So how many did you find?

Second, I’d like to take my hat off to Blake Webster of Media Design Services for helping me get this website up and running.  He transferred my original blog WriterJaw’s Tidbits into my website and helped me so much.  Thank you.

If you’ve read my about page, you know I have a few pre-published novels. My Night Terror Arsonist is completed and I decided to have it edited.  I have to thank Ana Manwaring from JAM Manuscript Services for this task. Take it from me, this was well worth having this book edited.  It was like having your own private instructor teaching you what works and what doesn’t, and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.  I learned a lot and am busy re-editing my novel. The most important thing I learned was that I write psychological thrillers or at least that’s what this book is. Why is that important? Because I thought I was writing a mystery and there is a big difference between a thriller and a mystery. Thank you, Ana.

So now I’m spending my time going over all of her comments, cross-outs, suggestions and corrections, and re-writing.  It was a great experience, and one that I would do again.

So keep writing!




Well, I’m editing and re-editing my manuscripts.

Last cliches:

First and Foremost: Most notable, important.  Survived since 15th century when recorded in work by William Caxlar in a lecture.

Keep One’s Head above water: Avoid financial ruin or being overwhelmed by overwork.  Dates from early 18th cent. See John Bull by John Arbuthnot (1712)

Cut and Run: make a hasty departure.  Term comes from nautical practice of cutting a ship’s anchor cable to let it run iwth wind-for emergencies usually.    See Rigging and Seamanship (1794) and Dicken’s Great Expectations (1861)
If ones really wants to get published, it seems crystal clear that it is imperative to hire an editor to go through your book.  There are all kinds of editors and ones who work on different types of genres.

For what its worth, it’s up to the writer to find the editor that works best with their writing, and go for it.

I’m learning that the average is around $2.00/page for editing services and more, if more in depth.

So now I must do more research–not for my writing the book, but for selling it.  No longer can we rely on the publishing houses, especially if we want to self-publish or upload our manuscript on e-books, which seems to be the wave of the future.

I’ll keep you posted as to what more I find out.

Until next time, Keep Writing,