Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Strangeness of the English Language

Some Trivial Word Stuff


There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious." 

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".

No word in the English language rhymes with month,orange, silver, or purple.

The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. 


Hetronyms are words spelled the same as another but having different sounds and different meanings, as lead (to conduct) and lead (a metal).

Homographs are words with the same written form as another but different meanings, whether pronounced the same way or not, as row (an argument) and row (paddle the oars) and row (a straight line).

       The dragon wound the cloth around the wound on his leg.

      He could still lead the knights if he could get the thick lead door opened.

     The king had to refuse the dumping of more refuse.

     The princess did not object to the shinny object the dragon brought her.

     The royal carpenter built the door to close to the window—it would not close.

     The royal chef had a tear in his apron and a tear in his eye.

     Upon arrival, the royal dove dove through the window.

     Deserting his dessert in the desert was not in the plan.

     The soldiers got in a row as they tried to straighten the row while rowing.

      The kingdom’s gardener was summoned to produce lots of produce, or else.

     The bass tuba had an etching of a bass on it’s stem.

     The prince, even in his present state, was to present the present to the princess.

     The wind was too strong to wind the kite string.

Then we could look at the word "Up"--quite possibly the strangest word in that it is an adverb, preposition, adjective, noun, and verbs: used with object, used without an object, or used as an idiom. Here are all the mind-boggling definitions of "Up";

Illustrations by Samantha Kickingbird

To read more about my adventure kids books, visit my author's website at:  Sign up for the Dragon Newsletter and receive the 55-page pdf Sir Princess Petra Coloring Book

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Creative Writing Institute Short Story Contest

   This is a great contest for writers. I am a writing tutor at the Creative Writing Institute.

July 15 - September 15, 2016


Entry fee $5. First, second,  third place winners and up to twelve additional stories (including Judge's Picks) will receive publication in our fourth annual anthology. For the first time, we are awarding professional eMedals and Judge's Pick ribbons to post on your site or blog.
First place: Gold eMedal and $100
Second place: Silver eMedal and $50
Third place: Bronze eMedal and $25                                        
Fourth and Fifth place: Finalist eMedal
Judge's Pick: Judge's Pick Red Ribbon

This is a themed contest and this exact sentence must appear in the story:

"Explain how that happened."
  • Your story must be between 1,500 and 2,000 words.
  • No swearing, profanity, explicit sexual scenes, graphic violence, etc.
  • Your story must not have been published before. By entering this contest, winners grant minor editing rights for publication; Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights to publish the winners and Judge's Choice stories in our anthology. All Rights return to the author upon publication.
  • ONE submission per person, please
  • Accepting submissions from July 15, 2016 until September 15, 2016, midnight, USA Eastern Standard Time. No early or late submissions will be accepted.
  • Entries will only be accepted through the form at
  • As you go through the submission process, there will be a space for you to copy and paste your document. Do NOT email attachments as these will not be accepted.
Please direct questions to Ms. Jo Popek, head judge, at Our special thanks to our judges and assisting award winning Co-ordinator, Jianna Higgins.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Grammar Lesson: Between vs. Among

Excerpt from The Dragon Grammar Book by Diane Mae Robinson, coming soon to a kingdom near you.


Between and among are often confused because their difference in meaning is subtle. Both words are prepositions.

Between is usually used with two separate and distinct things.

The grammar book is hidden between the oven and the ice box.

Between can also be used with three or more things as long as they are separate and distinct.

The differences between dragons, horses, and unicorns are all listed in the royal rule book.

A common misconception is that between is used with two things and among is used with three or more things. When using a comparison for separate and distinct things, use between.

Among is used when talking about individuals or things that aren’t distinct. It is usually used to portray a group of people or things. Among is usually followed by a plural noun.

 If you live among dragons, you should wear fire-proof apparel.

The king seeks approval among those who agree with him.

Among and amongst both mean amidst, surrounded by, or in the company of. Amongst is uncommon and is only really used in literary prose seeking to add a sense of the old fashioned.

The Dragon Grammar Book- Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom, forthcoming 2016. An easy to understand grammar book with a sense of fun. Featuring the characters from the multi-award winning The Pen Pieyu Adventures. Dragon books for children and adults alike.

Sign up for The Dragon Newsletter and receive the 55 page pdf coloring book of The Pen Pieyu Adventures series:  The Dragon Newsletter is an update about upcoming books, contests, and giveaways.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Secret Writng Techniques by Deborah Owen, CEO Creative Writing Institute

Secret Writing Techniques
by Deborah Owen, CEO


Re-blog from Deborah Owen is my mentor and the CEO of Creative Writing Institute where I teach the Writing For Children course.

Last week we talked about asyndeton – a method of listing items without using a conjunction for the purpose of showing more by saying less – and the week before was onomotoepia.

Today we will study polysyndeton, which is diametrically opposed to asyndeton. Polysyndeton is the repeated use of conjunctions for the purpose of intensifying the scene, building the excitement and indicating (like asyndeton) an endless and innumerable list.

Our thanks to Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers for this example. This quote comes from Charlotte’s Web where a rat is telling Wilbur the pig, in no uncertain terms, what he expects.

“Struggle if you must,” said Templeton, “but kindly remember that I’m hiding down here in this crate and I don’t want to be stepped on, or kicked in the face, or pummeled, or crushed in any way, or squashed, or buffeted about, or bruised, or lacerated or scarred, or biffed.”

Do you think Templeton made himself clear? And how did he do that? He drove the point home by using the repetitious ‘or.’ You will find a lot of this in children’s books. If you will listen to children talk, they use a lot of polysndeton when they talk:

“Mommy, I want ice cream, and chocolate, and nuts, and whipped cream.”

Do you see how these examples build the scene by intensifying repetition? This is a simple technique, but don't discount its importance.

P.S. Did you notice this example uses antiquated language? Writing styles are always morphing and wise is the writer who morphs with them. Today's writer would have written "Templeton said" instead of "said Templeton."

Check out the writing courses offered at Creative Writing Institute 

Enter the 2016 Creative Writing Institute Short Story Contest, July 15 -Sept. 15, 2016

Friday, 8 July 2016

Book Review, Lovable Lobo - Lobo Goes to The Galapagos

Lovable Lobo - Lobo Goes To The Galapagos

Author And Illustrator: C.L. Murphy

Publisher: Peanut Butter Prose (August 22, 2014)
  • Publication Date: August 22, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Synopsis: Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil' wolf pup finds that there's nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this "birds of a different feather DO flock together" tale.

What I Thought: I love Lobo, the wolf pup, and his sidekick, Roxy, the raven, in all their adventures.  This story a fun adventure as Lobo and Roxy are up for the task of helping out a new-found friend in need, and along the way, finding more new friends. The story is well written with some humor added in for good measure. The illustrations are fantastic. C. L. Murphy has created an excellent series with Lobo. Highly recommended.

About C.L. Murphy

C.L. Murphy is a tamer of fictitious wild animals. As the author and illustrator of the children's picture book series THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO, she spends her days managing her overactive imagination. The main character in the series was inspired by a lovable wolf that she raised for over 14 years. She's been a member of SCBWI since 2012. She lives amongst the wildlife in a real enchanted forest with her husband. They have two wildly perfect or perfectly wild sons, depending on the day, and a menagerie of other untamed animals.

Find the Book on Amazon and  Goodreads

For more information about Diane Mae Robinson and her dragon books for children, visit the author's website at:

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Some Common Writing Terminology


Acronym:  a word formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase or title and sometimes pronounced as a word.  NASA is pronounced as a word and is the acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. FBI is pronounced by its letters and is an acronym for Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Alliteration: A group of words that all begin with the same sound. 

Peter Piper picked a peck of pepper pickles.

Antonym: a word with a meaning that is opposite to the meaning of another word. Love is the antonym of hate. Happy is the antonym of sad.

Euphemism: a milder word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

Spinning tales can be an euphemism for lying.

Homonyms: a word that is said or spelled the same way as another word but has a different meaning.

Write, right, and rite are homonyms.

Duck (noun) and duck (verb) are homonyms.

Metaphor: a word or phrase that is used as a symbol to make a direct comparison between two people, animals, things, places, or a combination of any two of these. A metaphor makes a stronger statement than a simile does by stating something “is” something else.

The king is a dragon today.

The raindrops were arrows.

Oxymoron:  A phrase composed of two words with contradictory meanings.

Jumbo shrimp. Act naturally. Original copy.

Pun: A play on words that relies on a word’s having more than one meaning or sounding like another word.

A good pun has its own reword.

Horses are stable animals.

Simile: a figure of speech in which two un-similar things or people are compared by using “like” or “as” to connect the comparison.

The knight was as brave as a panther.

The dragon danced like a feather in the wind.

Synonyms: a word that has the same meaning as another word.
Big, large, huge, and giant are synonyms.

Small, miniature, little, and tiny are synonyms.

Personification: a figure of speech in which a something non-human is given a human quality. The non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that we feel they have the ability to act like human beings.

The unicorn sang in triumph.

Flowers danced in the breeze.

Visit my author website for information about my multi-award winning The Pen Pieyu Adventures series, dragon books for children, free pdf coloring pages, and a grade 4 teacher's lesson plan:

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sir Princess Petra's Mission - Book Trailer

Sir Princess Petra's Mission 
The Pen Pieyu Adventures
Book 3

Sir Princess Petra has already attained her Knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like Talent Certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father, the king.

The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all.

Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra?

For more information, reviews, free teacher's lesson plan, and free pdf coloring pages from The Pen Pieyu Adventures series:

Dragon books for children.