Friday 31 January 2014

Lay vs. Lie

To lay or lie--most often a meddlesome question.

One of the most confusing verbs in the English language. If you look up "lay/lie" on the internet, you can find pages of discussions on the topic. 
What's with this three-letter word that has so many people scratching their heads? I think there are two reasons:                                                                                                                                      

          1. The word lay has two completely different meanings.         
          2. We use these verbs incorrectly in speech.
To get these verbs to work properly, there are only six words you need to remember, and if you remember them in order it will all be much clearer.
         - Lie, lay, lain                                                                                 

        - Lay, laid, laid
When you are not sure of when to use lie, think of your bed. Lie is something you do to yourself (well unless you are not telling the truth to someone else, but in this case we're talking about the verb lie as in reclining). I lie down, beside the dragon, today. I lay down, beside the dragon, yesterday. I had lain down, beside the dragon, every day this month.
Lay is something someone does to something else (this verb takes a direct object. Lie never does). Think of lay and think of a place.  The dragon lay the book on the bookshelf. The witch laid the book on the book shelf yesterday.  The magician had laid the book on the bookshelf every day this month.
Easy right? Just remember: "Lie, lay, lain." "Lay, laid, laid."
Illustrations by Samantha Kickingbird

Visit my author's website to learn more about my dragon books for children:

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2014

Sunday 19 January 2014

Not Either--Neither Nor.

In the English language, either and neither can become confusing in their meanings. Sometimes, a writer can use either one and other times the writer will have to choose between the two words to make the writing clear.

Some rules on either:

Either or is used to give choice between two possibilities:

Either the dragon or the magician will attend the party.
One of them will bring either cupcakes or pumpkin pie.

Either can be followed by (one of) and then the group of two:

Either the dragon or the magician could be in charge of the baking.
Either one of them could be in charge of the baking.

Not either, denies both possibilities:

The king does not think either the dragon or the magician will show up.
The dragon does not speak well without either blowing out fire or smoke.

Not either, is used after a negative statement:

The king does not like to be blasted by the dragon.
I don’t either.

Neither nor, is the equivalent to not either or.

Neither the dragon nor the magician are likely to attend the party.
The dragons speaks neither English nor Elven.

Neither can also be followed by (one of) and then the group of two:

Neither of them will be attending.
Neither one of them will be attending.

Neither is used like not either.

The dragons does not speak Elven.
Neither do I.
I do not either.
(informal): Me neither.

In summary:
Either means one, neither means none, and not either equals neitherOr goes with either and nor goes with neither.

To learn more about my dragon books for children, visit my author's website at:

Reviews on my adventure kids books:                                                               
Fantasy Kids Books page:

copyright Diane Mae Robinson, 2014
Easy grammar lessons for kids and dragons

Saturday 11 January 2014

The Last Kansas Exit--Book Review

I don't usually review adult books, but I am making an exception to my own rule because this is a great collection of short stories that deserves attention.

The Last Kansas Exit,
by Troy Boucher

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: PublishAmerica (January 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413709265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413709261

Back cover: The Last Kansas Exit is about life in the heart of the country, where the weather is as unpredictable and changing as the people. These stories reflect much the same Kansas that John Stewart Curry saw and reproduced in his artwork. If there is an adhesive that holds them together it is the setting and the people who have been shaped by a strong sense of place and who become stronger because of where they are. These stories are about the people who, regardless of their age or circumstances, are doing their best to understand love, friendship, and the world they live in.

About the book: This short story collection contains ten short stories. The first three stories are a trilogy: Deep Water, Wildwood Flower, Semper Fi. The trilogy, as well as three other stories in this collection (Scrapbook, Pocket Money, Light Harvest) have been published in literary journals prior to their publication in this collection. Pocket Money won 1st place in the Bob Gross Fiction Contest sponsored by Woodley Press. The four other short stories in the collection are entitled: Jumping, Forth of July, Eli's Coming, and Father's Day. The diversity of the story topics vary widely: vampires, boxing, prejudice, and dementia in the epistolary form of Scrapbook, to name a few

 What I thought: First of all, I am a fan of well written short stories. Secondly, I am a fan of unique, creative stories.This collection is all that and more. Each story evoked different emotions from me as each story has it's own tone and style. I was immediately drawn in by the excellent writing, vivid characters, and the original story line of each story. The author does a great job with creating metaphors that linger in the mind of the reader--I love great metaphors. The humor intertwined within the stories is exceptionally well done; bringing home the point that even in some of the more serious issues of life, there is humor to be found. Writing well paced humor is not an easy feat, and I commend the author for doing this with precision. I Highly recommend this book.
 About the author: Troy Boucher grew up in a small western Oklahoma town on what was once a large Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation. As a child he spent time watching western movies on Saturday afternoons, reading, and listening to the stories of his grandfather and other in the community. Most of his adult life has been spent teaching writing and American literature in a small private college in Kansas. The author has also published a well received novel entitled, Prince of the Plains.                                                                                                                                                                                
 The Last Kansas Exit available:  


B & N:  


Prince of the Plains available:         

Of all the men who rode with Billy the Kid, one of the least well-know is Henry Newton Brown. Brown broke with Billy the Kid and for a time served as an assistant marshal of Tascaso, Texas. Restless and looking for a better life, Brown ended up in Caldwell, Kansas in where he became an assistant marshal and eventually, after Bat Carr was fired, he became the marshal, of the cowtown known as the Border Queen. Sure that his past had been safely left in New Mexico, he began to settle-in as a respected citizen of Caldwell. He was honored with the gift of an engraved Winchester as a token of the town?
Note: This is a book of fiction based on the life of Henry Newton Brown.
Visit my author's website at:

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Maui On My Mind.

Some pictures from my trip  to Maui, Dec., 2013. Hope it warms you up a bit.

The view from my balcony in West Maui

Flowers blooming everywhere
Up Country Maui

The view of Lanai from West Maui

Rode a horse in Up Country Maui

Magic tree in the jungle

Playing with a frog

Think warm thought, spring is around the next five corners.