Category Archives: Writing

Do you use a Thesaurus?

A thesaurus is a reference book that lists words in groups of synonyms and sometimes antonyms.

Do you keep a Thesaurus on your desk or have the link open on your laptop, tablet, phone (whatever you use for writing) when you are writing?

A thesaurus helps you to stop repeating the same words over and over.


Some synonyms for describe: call, characterize, chronicle, construe, define, depict, detail, express, illustrate, interpret.

Some antonyms for describe: conceal, confuse, distort, hide, ignore, listen, misunderstand, suppress.

Let a Thesaurus be your friend!


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Filed under Authors, Books, Writing

Will this make its way into your mystery novel?

On January 6, 2020, the Carrollton, Texas Police Department tweeted “YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY! Today we learned two things: 1) Covering cars in cheese slices is apparently the new trend in criminal mischief. 2) Cheese slices produce GREAT fingerprints.”

I am not making this up! You can check out the Carrollton Police Department on twitter – @CarrolltonTXPD

Or read the story here.

Will your main sleuth, detective, police officer, etc. crack the case/solve the murder/solve the mystery because of fingerprints left behind on a slice of cheese?

Yes, this is cheesy!


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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Writing

4 Steps to Getting Unstuck

For a few months now, I have been unstuck.  I just haven’t felt like writing blog posts.

In order to prepare for a workshop on “How to Do Biography” I conducted earlier this month, I had to read and write.

Here are the four steps I used to get myself unstuck.

  1. I scheduled a time to read books about biography.
  2. I set a goal of writing 50 words a day.  Writing 50 words was actually easy and I found myself writing more than that.
  3. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t let those who might attend the workshop down.  This helped me pay attention to what was happening in my life, both at work and at home.
  4. I asked co-workers if I could run my presentation past them to see if what I was talking about made sense.  I also asked for feedback.  You know, kind of what a writing support group does.

I conducted the workshop on October 6, 2018, and heard good things about it from those who attended.  So, I guess, the hard work in writing and in preparation paid off.


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Filed under Authors, Writing

14 Trendy Words

Have you ever noticed how certain words become a trend?

I started noticing when a person I know announced on Facebook that they were pansexual.

I thought my vocabulary was fairly extensive, but I have to admit, I don’t recall hearing that word before, so I looked it up.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary pansexual means “of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.”  Meaning a pansexual person is attracted to all kinds of people-males, females, transgender, and those who identify as non-binary (neither- male or female).

Words, ar like other things.  As one person told me, “you never see a yellow car on the road until you buy one, then you see them everywhere.”  Did the color yellow become trendy as a vehicle color, or did the person just never noticed the color before?

Here is a list of words that I have noticed in the past few months that I hadn’t noticed for a very long time.

















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Filed under Writing

Friday Musings – Hit by a Tornado

Here it is, Friday, May 11.  The month started out stormy in my area on May 1.  Weather stations were saying the weather was to be worse on May 2 and for me it was!

We arrived home shortly after 5 p.m.  It was sprinkling with rain outside.  Hubby parked the car in the garage and said he was going to get his raincoat and take the dogs for a walk.  He proceeded to put on his raincoat and I went into the house to turn on the television to see what the weather person was reporting for the evening.

I turned on the TV and the weather person stated, “if you are in this area,” he pointed to the map on the screen, “take cover now.”  It wasn’t our area!

As soon as he said that our power went out and BAM we were hit by a tornado!

The sky was not dark.  It was a mixture of white, pale yellow, and light gray.  You could still see the sun shining, yet we were enveloped in this weird color mist.

Some have said that a tornado sounds like a train.  It did not sound that way to me.  It sounded like something I have never heard before mixed with howling wind and pounding rain.

I told the cats to follow me and headed to the basement.  Our basement is finished and we designated the back bedroom and closet area as the safest place in the house.

Hubby came in from the garage and said that as soon as he got a short distance from the house it hit and now he was drenched to the bone.

One of the cats, Abby, was terrified.  She sat on the stairs moaning.  Hubby picked her up and brought her into the bedroom and placed her on the bed.

Another cat, Rogue, had followed me down the stairs and was under the bed.

Our third cat, Bates, stayed upstairs.  I imagined him sitting on a stool looking out the window.  He likes to do that.

The howling wind lasted about thirty minutes.  The rain, much longer.

Once the rain let up, Hubby walked down the road to see the damage.  A power pole was down and a power line had snapped.  Trees were down on the road, lots of tree damage on our property, tin missing from the barn roof, the barn was now leaning, tin was missing from the blacksmith shop, top of the dog kennel was missing, and the chicken coop was turned over with chickens inside-all alive.

It was a miracle.  No damage to the house.

Throughout the neighborhood, we learned that no homes were damaged.  Damage was done to outbuildings and trees.  One neighbor lost their hay barn, another lost their horse barn-all horses survived, and another lost their children’s playset.

Hubby said it was like the tornado had been picky about what it wanted to hit.

It could have been worse and we are thankful that it wasn’t.


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Filed under Writing

Proofreading Thursday – Spelling Variations

Since I have been taking/working on this proofreading course, I find that I proofread everything I read.

When I told a friend that I found myself proofreading instead of just reading for the pleasure of it they asked if I found any mistakes in the current book I am reading.

The answer, “Yes.”  And this book was traditionally published.  I know that things get missed, they did in my book.  No one is perfect.

It is very hard to proofread your own work.

An article I read about proofreading said you really needed a good editor.  In class, we learned that proofreading is not editing.

When you are proofreading, keep in mind who wrote the work.  Where is the author from?  The United States, United Kingdom, or somewhere else.  It matters when it comes to spelling certain words.


Here are some examples of American spelling vs British spelling:












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Looking for Authors to Interview

I hope those who read this blog post today will share with all your author friends.

I am looking for authors to interview in order to help them promote their books.

If you are interested, please contact me at cyannris at gmail dot com.


Filed under Action Adventure, Animation, Authors, Autobiography, Biography, Body, Books, Children's Books, Christian Romance, Comedy, Coming of Age, Cookbooks, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy Romance, e-books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Memoir, Military, Mind, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Age, Non-Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Picture Books, poetry, Religious, Romance, Romantic Suspense, science fiction, Self-Help, Spirit, Suspense, Thriller, Travel, Urban Fantasy/Horror, Western, Writing, Young Adult

Copyright Basic Tutorial

When you have questions about copyright, it might seem confusing when you do a Google search or search

Here is a Copyright Basic Tutorial, I think might be helpful for those beginning to ask questions about copyright.

·         Why does copyright protection exist?

·         Whose work is protected by copyright?

·         What can copyright holders do with their copyrights?

·         Which works can be protected by copyright?

·         When is a work protected by copyright?

·         Where are copyrighted works protected?

This tutorial takes about 30 minutes to complete and is appropriate for anyone just starting to asking questions about copyrights or if you need a copyrights refresher lesson.


Filed under Authors, Self-Publish, Writing

Wrong Words

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I signed up for a proofreading class.  Another aspect of proofreading is the commonly misused words.

Can you pick the correct words for this sentence?

The butler gave Miss Marple a written confession, hoping to lessen/lesson his guilty conscious/conscience.

If you picked “lessen” and “conscience” you chose correctly.

 Give this sentence a try.

If they had taken Hercule Poirot’s advise/advice, the police would have apprehended the suspect a lot/alot faster.

Correct words are “advice” and “a lot.”

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Filed under Authors, Writing

Is that a family name?

“What is your name?” someone asked me.

“Cynthia,” I replied.

“Is that a family name?” they asked.

Well, yes and no.

Yes, there is a Cynthia in my ancestral line, but I was not named after that “Cynthia.”

Several years ago, when I started doing family genealogy, I asked mom if I was named after a family ancestor.

“No,” she said.

“Where did you get the name, Cynthia, from,?” I asked.

Mom laughed and told me this story.

“When your Dad and I were at the grocery store, Mr. Stewart asked if we had a name picked out.  We didn’t, so he suggested that for a baby girl her name be Cynthia Ann, after his mother.”

Yes, my parents went shopping at a grocery store and came away with a name for a baby girl.

I know, I know!  People go shopping at a grocery store for many things, but a name is not usually one of them.


Filed under Authors, family relationship, Genre, Memoir, Non-Fiction, parenting, Writing