Word Confusion: Medal vs Meddle vs Metal vs Mettle

by Kathy Davie

I don’t like to metal in meddling and the giving thereof, nor do I want to test my medals with mettling, er, wait, that’s not coming out right.

What I meant was I don’t like to medal in metal and the giving thereof, nor do I want to test my meddle with mettle. No, wait, that’s not right either *scratches head*

How’s about: I don’t like to meddle in medals and the giving thereof, nor do I want to test my mettle with metal?

Phew, that’s about right, well, as right as one can be when attempting to use all four words in one sentence, lol. You may well be asking at this point just what that sentence is supposed to mean. A reasonable question, and this is how I interpret it:

I don’t want to busy myself with giving out disks that commemorate an event or achievement, and I think I would be afraid to work with hot, molten minerals.

It’s not surprising that as rarely used as meddle and mettle are, that writers would become confused between them. Although, if they read enough, I suspect it wouldn’t be such a problem. When it comes to confusing medal and metal, I am surprised, shocked even. Enough so that I feel the need to meddle with text, at least to make the author aware of their word confusion. What I suspect happens is that the author is relying upon editing software or Word’s spellcheck. Ya gotta remember that software does not judge context. At best, it merely verifies that the particular word is spelled correctly.

A writer can easily end up with He earned his metal on the battlefront or The blacksmith worked the medal to make the wrought iron gate.

It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Medal vs Meddle vs Metal vs Mettle” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Medal Meddle Metal Mettle
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: medal, meddle, metal, and mettle

Image courtesy of GrummelJS and Wikimedia Commons

Army, Navy, and Air Force medals of honor.

Image courtesy of Off the Kuff

Freshman Rep. Drew Springer likes meddling in other people’s business.

Photograph by Bill Bradley 00:27, 2 May 2007 and Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Aidan Jones

Firewalking in Sri Lanka will test your mettle.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Noun; Verb, intransitive

Third person: medals,
[British] medals

Past tense and past participle: medaled,
[British] medalled

Present participle: medaling,
[British] medalling

Verb, intransitive
Adjective; Noun; Verb, transitive

Third person: metals,
[British] metals

Past tense and past participle: metaled,
[British] metalled

Present participle: metaling,
[British] metalling


An alteration of metal


A metal disk with an inscription or design, made to commemorate an event or awarded as a distinction to someone such as a soldier, athlete, or scholar

  • A small usually metal object bearing a religious emblem or picture

Verb, intransitive:
Earn a medal, especially in an athletic contest


Verb, intransitive:
Interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one’s concern

  • [Meddle with] Touch or handle something without permission
  • To change or handle something in a way that is unwanted or harmful

A solid material that is typically hard, shiny, malleable, fusible, and ductile, with good electrical and thermal conductivity, e.g., iron, gold, silver, copper, and aluminum, and alloys such as brass and steel

  • [Heraldry] Gold and silver, as tinctures in blazoning

[British; also road metal] Broken stone for use in making roads

Molten glass before it is blown or cast

Heavy metal or similar rock music

Printing type metal

Matter set in metal type

Verb, transitive:
Make out of or coat with metal

[British] Make or mend a road with road metal


A person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way

  • Quality of temperament or disposition
  • Aroused to do one’s best
Michael Phelps is the most medaled swimmer in Olympics history.

Russian athletes won 13 gold medals during the Sochi Olympics.

The first portrait medal in history was created by Pisanello of the Emperor John VIII Palaiologos during his visit to Florence (Wikipedia).

She always wore her St. Christopher’s medal.

Verb, intransitive:
Norwegian athletes medaled in 12 of the 14 events.

I don’t want him meddling in our affairs.

It’s just more of that bureaucratic meddling.

Stop meddling in your sister’s marriage!

You have no right to come in here and meddle with my things.

Follow the metalled road for about 200 yards.

Being a metal, aluminum readily conducts heat.

Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, and Uriah Heep are heavy metal bands.

Verb, transitive:
He metaled the key rings.

The mettled German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has questions about Valdimir Putin’s intentions.

The team showed their true mettle in the second half.

The tension of test taking can put someone on their mettle.

“You are gentlemen of brave mettle.” –Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 1

History of the Word:
First known use: circa 1578

Late 16th century from the French médaille, from the Italian medaglia, from the medieval Latin medalia meaning half a denarius, from the Latin medialis which means medial.

First known use: 14th century

Middle English, in the sense of mingle, mix and from the Old French medler, a variant of mesler, based on the Latin miscere meaning to mix.

First known use as a:
  • noun: 14th century
  • verb: 1617

Middle English from the Old French metal or Latin metallum, from the Greek metallon meaning mine, quarry, or metal.

First known use: 1581

Mid-16th cent as a specialized spelling used for figurative senses of metal.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.

A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has an ongoing and free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.

Contact Kathy for various writing and editing services.

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Book Review: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl

by Kathy Davie

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A novel of fanfic and dysfunction.

My Take
This is not your usual novel with a misunderstood young woman who is all sweetness and light. Instead, Cath is the shy twin with an almost pathological fear of new, of people, of change. She likes her routine and engages with people through the fanfiction she writes.

She’s both likable and not. She’s practically agoraphobic and lives on her protein bars and peanut butter to avoid going to the cafeteria. You can hear the teen inside her when she gets excited about the hero of the fantasy series she reads—think Harry Potter-like but with a vampire, and I love the real world quality of her homelife. Her dad is dysfunctional as all get out. We never do learn if mom’s leaving caused her dad’s problems or if it was the spark that brought it to the fore or if was the reason for her going.

The story is not about the mom and dad, but about fanfiction and Cath. Her inner fears and dreams, her worries and hopes. And all with that underlying need to write. Along with her desire to be with Levi and the bond she has with her twin.

I do love Levi. He is so understanding and so understated. What a great guy! The kind we’d all love to meet. Then there’s Reagan, LOL. She is so not your usual roommate. And a good thing for Cath! So much better than Courtney was for Wren. Cute reason for the twins’ name, er, names!

Reading of Cath’s writer’s block was very real as well. I loved hearing her concerns with how her story was developing. Her thoughts about how she’d love to be able to go back and change things. Why it’s better to write the whole book before letting it loose into the world.

It was confusing to read the excerpts from the Simon Snow story. I had no idea why they were appearing at first; it took awhile before it sank in, and I’m still somewhat confused about those.

There are a few rough patches in here, which could be due to its being a YA novel and my not understanding what’s happening. The majority of it is simply well-written and Rowell uses words very well — you won’t be disappointed. Anyone who likes to read or write will enjoy this, as it’s too easy to identify with Cath on a number of levels.

The ending was good. It could have, it should have, felt flat, but it felt right with a sense that Cath’s world would continue.

The Story
It’s that first scene when Cath is moving into her dorm that sets the tone throughout. Fear. Not knowing how the world works and terrified to find out as Cath wonders just who, or what, her roommate is.

And that’s what college is for Cath. New experiences that leave her wondering: the writing partner, talking to people in classes, unwillingly making friends, worrying about her twin and her dad, her mother returning for grace, and obsessing about the final installment in the fantasy series that has consumed her and Wren’s lives.

It’s her fanfiction persona that rules over it all, insisting she finish her version before the original author finishes the series.

The Characters
The naive and innocent Cather (call me “Cath“!) is leaving home, Omaha, for the first time to attend college, and she’s terrified. Magicath is her fanfic persona when she’s writing the Carry On, Simon stories. Wren, the older and bolder twin, is excited to leave home and her twin behind — she’s insisted on NOT rooming together. You can imagine how this affects our shyer twin! Art Avery is their bipolar dad who is brilliant in advertising. Laura is their re-emerging mother. Abel is the boy who would do.

Levi is one of Reagan’s boys and studying range management. An ex who still loves her, but finds a new sun around which to orbit. He’s easygoing, patient, and wants everyone to be happy. Reagan is Cath’s roommate, a force of nature with a string of boys attending her. An unhappy one as she didn’t want a roommate!

The clueless Courtney is Wren’s roommate; Jandro becomes her boyfriend. Jesse is her high school boyfriend.

Simon Snow is the hero of a fantasy series written by Gemma T. Leslie whose final story is coming at the end of the school year. Baz Pitch is the enemy ( and hated roommate) Cath wants him to befriend. Agatha Wellbelove is the witch everyone loves. Watford is the Hogwarts of Simon’s world. The Mage appears to be the Headmaster. Penelope is Simon’s closest friend.

Pound Hall is the co-ed dorm where Cath is plunked at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; I think Schramm is Wren’s dorm. Selleck Hall seems to be the cafeteria? Professor Piper is an author and the teacher of Cath’s favorite class, an advanced writing course, Fiction-Writing. I love that first class when the professor asks why we write. The answers from everyone — Cath and her fellow students — were fab. I think Cath could use her own answers to start that short story she needs for her final. Nick is a fellow student who partners up with Cath to write their homework.

Kelly is her dad’s boss. St. Richard’s is a hospital for mental and behavioral health.

The Cover
The cover is a flat, pastel green with a grayed coral used in the title. And it’s perfect. It’s Cath perched on the “a”, typing away on her laptop writing “a novel” while Levi tries to get her attention. Too bad for him that she’s dreaming of Baz and Simon…!

The title is perfect, for Cath is THE Fangirl with her whole world revolving around Simon and Baz.

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Book Review: Margaret Frazer’s The Widow’s Tale

by Kathy Davie

The Widow's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #14)The Widow’s Tale by Margaret Frazer
Series: Dame Frevisse, 14
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fourteenth in the Dame Frevisse medieval mystery series and revolving around a Benedictine nun with a nose for clues in 1449. The focus is on a beleaguered family in Hertfordshire.

It’s been two years since Suffolk forbade Alice to meet with Frevisse (The Bastard’s Tale, 12).

My Take
It’s a mean, greedy story of a mean and greedy man, taking advantage of a a newly bereft family through bribery and forced incarceration, kidnapping, and forced marriage. It makes me grateful for women’s lib and our current laws when stories such as The Widow’s Tale demonstrate how one-sided life was in the past. No, I’m not saying today is perfect, but I much prefer due process. I wouldn’t return to the mid-14th century for anything! Not as a woman anyway!

It’s a convenient fiction, that of Dame Frevisse playing detective, as it gives Frazer such lovely opportunities to show us English life in the mid-1400s from simple daily living in the country and the city, of spies and lawyers, of laws and customs, the food and dress, manners and expectations, and more. It includes politics whether its those of the court, within the neighborhood, within families, and all points in between as well as a look at how the genders and classes are treated.

And up to now, the nuns have been welcome wherever they go. Not here. We all have someone in the family who’s a nasty wart on the world, and poor Cristiana will pay heavily for this one. What I don’t understand is why Edward didn’t do more to protect his family? And why would Abbot Gilberd acquiesce in this? It doesn’t seem to fit his character.

Part of the underlying theme of the series involves royal politics, or rather, the machinations of the nobles at court, and specifically Lord Suffolk and his circle and how they manipulate the king. I keep thinking that I must look into the history of this, for I’m curious to know if Suffolk ever fell from grace, *fingers crossed*. And so it goes…will Suffolk’s fate appear in a future Dame Frevisse?

Edward puts it well: he’s not selling his daughters off so that Laurence’s ambition can be satisfied. It’s a sad tale, and one I would have preferred to skip even though Frazer wrote it well. Too well, really, as I was by turn furious and sad until I cried at the end. For she’s lost so much…

The Story
It’s a May Daying party which Laurence is determined to spoil with his demands about Edward’s lands and marrying Mary off to his son. The man simply will not accept no for an answer.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have to accept that no for long, and Laurence quickly takes control, hiding the kidnappings, only Mary won’t cooperate, and Laurence is forced to beg Cristiana’s help. Hah.

The Characters
Dame Frevisse would much prefer to be left to her copying, but her natural curiosity, skillful observations, and innate sense of justice won’t let her back away from a mystery.

Others of the nuns include:
Sisters Johane and Amicia, Domina Elisabeth is the abbess still, Ela is one of the servants, Dames Perpetua and Juliana, Dame Claire is still the infirmarian, Sister Thomasine is even saintlier than ever, and Sister Margarett is the current cellarer.

Master Naylor is the nunnery’s steward. Father Henry is still the nunnery’s priest. Abbot Gilberd is Elisabeth’s brother, and St. Frideswide’s is under his care and protection.

Edward Helyngton is married to Cristiana and allied to my Lord Suffolk. Mary is their twelve-year-old daughter while Jane is eight. Sir Gerveys Drury is Cristiana’s brother, even though he’s one of York’s. Pers is Gerveys’ squire who’s been with him since they were boys. Ivetta, a carpenter’s widow, is the girls’ nurse with a grown son, Nicholas, of her own; she and Pers are sweet on each other.

The widowed Laurence Helyngton is Edward’s cousin, and a meaner snake you’ll never meet. Well, until you meet Milisent. Clement is his loutish son. His sisters, Milisent and Ankaret, are married respectively to Master Henry Colles with his hard little eyes and Master Petyt, a wealthy clothier who doesn’t seem to notice his wife making sheep’s eyes at every comely man.

John Say is also Suffolk’s man and Speaker of Parliament, but the king is first and foremost in his heart. Beth is his quiet, unassuming wife. Their children are Geneffeve, almost two, and Betha, Beth’s daughter from a previous marriage, who is six. Master Fyncham is the house steward, Nurse came from Beth’s first household, Edmund is valet to Say, Sawnder and Rafe are men-at-arms, and Reignold is one of the kitchen help. Father Richard is the local priest.

William de la Pole is the duke of Suffolk and married to Frevisse’s cousin, the very worried and twitchy Lady Alice. He is a power at court and with King Henry VI who is married to Queen Margaret. Charles VII is king of France.

The Cover
The soft-looking cover is split in half vertically with blurbs, the title, the series name, and the author’s name against a pale mint background on the right while the left is a perspective of the land with the manor house slightly above the center and a parade of horses and a sedan chair winding up the road towards it.

The title is The Widow’s Tale as her life unfolds and disintegrates around her.

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Word Confusion: Any  more versus Anymore

by Kathy Davie

Anymore these days, if you’re reading any more British-authored books, you’ll probably run into this word confusion. But give it time, it seems anymore the British are coming over to our way of thinking, that anymore is right handy for indicating time as in nowadays, any longer, or still rather than using any more in all situations.

Don’t get me wrong, Americans still use any more to indicate more of something. So if you read any more British or Australian novels, it’s up to your interpretation as to whether it’s in addition or now, although if any more years pass, it’s likely to get easier. For us Yanks, anyway.

Using any more Can be re-interpreted with anymore:
We do not have any more work. We are not working anymore.
I can’t give you any more love than I already have. I don’t love you anymore.
I don’t need any more caffeine, so I don’t drink coffee anymore (Live Write Thrive).

It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Any  more versus Anymore” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Any more Anymore
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Image courtesy of Learning vs. Teaching

Image courtesy of Pacific-Rim Wikia

Part of Grammar:
Adverb + Adjective = Adjective phrase
Adverb + Noun (usually a negative)
Less commonly used in the 20th century
Something additional or further

Preferred U.K. spelling
Use when than follows

Adverb + Adjective:
Indicate quantity or degree

Adjective + Noun:
Negative description + quantity

No more

Regularly used in negative, interrogative, and conditional contexts and certain positive constructions, it is the more commonly used form in the 20th century.

Any longer
No longer
At the present time, at this time
Adverb + Adjective:
I don’t want any more pie.

I don’t like paying $3.50 for a cup of coffee any more than you do.

Adjective + Noun:
I don’t want any more.

Hardly a day passes without rain anymore.

[Conditional] If you do that anymore, I’ll leave.

[Interrogative] Do you read much anymore?

[Negative] No one can be natural anymore.

[Positive] The Washingtonian is too sophisticated to believe anymore in solutions. –Russell Baker

Everybody’s cool anymore –Bill White

Discover why I don’t worry about exams anymore.

History of the Word:
14th century

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.

She is the author of the arts marketing series, Your Portfolio & You, aimed at helping artists survive (and thrive) at the business of being an artist and include Accounting for the SMALL Businessperson, How Copyright Applies to the Artist, the Buyer, the Employer/e, the Sold Artwork, Dealing with Photographs, Slides, Digital Images, and Surviving the Outdoor Arts Festival.

A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has begun a free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.

Contact Kathy for various writing and editing services or explore her artwork.

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Book Review: Louise Penny’s The Cruelest Month

by Kathy Davie

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, 3
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Third in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series revolving around the inspector and a small village outside Montreal during Easter.

The Cruelest Month won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2008, and in 2009, was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel, and the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel.

My Take
The village of Three Pines is as much a character in this series as the people. Whenever Penny describes this forgotten village in her opening paragraphs, I always think Brigadoon with the swirling years of time and the protection of the Canadian mountains as they conceal this tiny place. There’s the old Hadley place, too. Another character abandoned in this series. A place where evil constantly finds its way in. Just goes to show…even the sweetest places can harbor the most devious minds.

Part of what I love about Penny’s stories is her combination of warm, cozy, cottagey feel and the humor she sprinkles throughout. It makes me love the characters even more within the homey setting. The core group is planning an Easter egg hunt, and I cracked up with Gabi’s remark about chocolate and Easter egg hunts: “Great idea. Gay men offering chocolates to children.” Then there’s the irascible Ruth who has to destroy, even if she has a good point about rabbits and eggs, lol. What’s truly funny? Ruth becomes a momma…she’s so cute with Rosa and Lilium. Only it doesn’t stay cute as the truth for Ruth’s behavior comes through, killed by kindness, and I cried for all her losses.

Peter’s reaction to Denis Fortin wanting to see Clara‘s work is so real and terrifies me throughout the story. He’s so incredibly mean to his wife. He’s so successful with his own work and still he resents her being discovered? The words he uses…I simply want to rip a strip off him! Especially as we read through Clara’s fears.

I’d worry about a policeman who says: “You’re blinded … by your need to help people, to save them.”

It’s red herrings and betrayals a’plenty in this one with a sense of evil washing its hands in anticipation. I love how full and rounded Penny makes her characters. She shows us more of the anger and worries of Gamache’s team, the give-and-take amongst them, the fears they have about themselves, the others, and Gamache. Beauvoir with his crush. Lemieux with his misperceptions. Nichol with her selfish attitude. The time spent with such a minor character as Gilles is beautiful as he talks about his trees and how they speak back. His regret and come-to-Jesus moment amongst the trees when he was a lumberjack. How can Lemieux be so gullible? So blind?

Penny must be an artist or know them to understand them so well.

There’s a side story within this one about the Cree mother who refused to give up. It’s a beautiful example of how one person can affect such change.

What does it take for one person to be happy? How does one prevent jealousy from eating away at a person? Prevent them from seeing their own happiness?

The Story
It’s fun and games—some not so nice—until the séance in the old Hadley place results in one of them being frightened to death.

It’s murder, you know, and Gamache and his team are thrust into confrontation on two fronts: finding the murderer and countering a campaign aimed against the chief inspector.

The Characters
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the kind eyes and calm face is under fire at the Sûreté in Montreal and in the papers which are vilifying him and his children. Reine-Marie is his so very understanding wife and a librarian. Henri is Gamache’s young German shepherd. Daniel is his married son who lives in Paris with his wife, Roslyn, and infant daughter, Florence. Anne Marie is their youngest child, married to David.

Jean Guy Beauvoir is Gamache’s second-in-command with a love for fine clothes; Enid is the wife he gladly leaves with the in-laws. Agent Isabelle Lacoste is part of Gamache’s team as well; she has two children and is happy with herself. Marc Brault is Gamache’s opposite number and friend over at the Montreal Metropolitan Police with whom he entrusted his children. Superintendent Michel Brébeuf, Gamache’s supervisor, is revealing himself to be a traitor to his years-long friendship with Gamache; Catherine is his wife. Agent Robert Lemieux is the so-very-friendly and charming duty officer at the Cowansville police station in the Eastern Townships. Dr. Sharon Harris is the coroner. The bitchy, self-absorbed Agent Yvette Nichol is back! Superintendents Sylvain Francoeur, Gamache’s arch-enemy and Arnot’s best friend; Paget is the titular leader; and, Desjardins are part of the council. Ari Nikolev is Yvette’s proud, yet deceitful father.

The Core Inhabitants of Three Pines
Clara is an artist who creates collages her husband does not understand, and yet, the influential Denis Fortin is coming to see her work. Her husband, Peter Morrow, is already famous, but works so slowly on his intensely magnified paintings that they’ll never get rich. Lucy was Jane’s dog and now lives with the Morrows. Myrna Landers is a heavyset former psychologist who now runs the village bookstore, Myrna’s Livres, Neufs et Usagés. Ruth Zardo is the curmudgeonly poet, who had won a Governor General prize for her work. She’s also the volunteer fire chief! Olivier Brulé and his partner, Gabri Dubeau, own a bed & breakfast in Three Pines; Olivier sells antiques as well while Gabri is the most delicious cook. I love that Gabri occasionally gets so ticked off at Olivier for selling everything out from underfoot that he sometimes wears a price tag!

Hazel Smyth is happiest doing for others who are in distress. The angry Sophie Smyth is her daughter, visiting home from a stint at Queens University. Madeleine Favreau is an old schoolmate who’s moved in and become Hazel’s housemate. She’s also, sort of, dating Monsieur Béliveau, whose wife recently died. François Favreau is the ex-husband who still loves her. Joan Cummings is another old schoolmate.

Minor Inhabitants of Three Pines
Sarah runs a tasty Boulangerie while the widowed Monsieur Béliveau runs the general store. Odile Montmagny fancies herself a poet; her boyfriend, Gilles Sandon, is an artist in wood. Together they have a shop, La Maison Biologique, in St.-Rémy.

Madame Isadore Blavatsky is a famous Hungarian psychic, at least in Gabri’s mind. Jeanne Chauvet is a guest at the B&B, who does readings. Denis Fortin is the owner of a famous art gallery, Galerie Fortin.

The Arnot case has destroyed Gamache’s career. The Sûreté wanted to sweep it under the rug; Gamache refused.

The Cover
The cover is crackling with a lightning bolt in the night sky over the small village of Three Pines. A pink-flowering tree stands showcased in the moonlight, separate from the houses and church surrounded in greenery which are set back leaving a deep green meadow in the forefront.

The title refers to the betrayals of this Easter month, and there are so many. It is also the kindnesses that destroy, as Gamache learns in this, The Cruelest Month.

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The Author Delusion: Your Book is FREE!

KD Did It:

This goes right along with the phishing warning I posted yesterday…sigh…

Originally posted on S.K. Nicholls:

Piracy-150x150 I am pounding away at my WIP. I would like to put another book out there at some point.

As an independent author, I am reminded of garage bands in the sixties through the eighties, strumming and banging away…hoping to be that next great band.

That was all before internet.

That was before you could download any song out there on your computer.

Musicians went through an angry phase, where they seriously resented the pirating and file sharing of music. There were lawsuits all over the place. Napster, developed by John and Shawn Fanning, released initially in 1999, in particular, became the target of a serious lawsuit.  The downloading of MP3s was credited for ushering in the downfall of the album era. The bottom line is: NO royalties were ever paid the artists.

Along with the accusations that Napster was hurting the sales of the record industry, there were those…

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Book Review: Keri Arthur’s Darkness Unmasked

by Kathy Davie

Darkness Unmasked (Dark Angels, #5)Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur
Series: Dark Angels, 5
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fifth in the Dark Angels urban fantasy melodrama series and revolving around Risa Jones, drama queen.

My Take
The usual melodrama and whining about she wants him, she can’t have him, as she constantly pushes at him for more, Gimme, gimme, gimme. All this horrible stuff keeps happening. Oh, woe is me… *MAJOR eye roll*

(view spoiler) *Arm across the brow* It’s all her fault.

Risa finally learns the truth of her mother’s murder, sees the truly dark side of Hunter and Lucian, and well, her entire world simply falls apart. Mostly because she’s such an impetuous, histrionic idiot, who isn’t capable of stopping to think or consider the ramifications of anything.

Jesus, for all the excess of melodrama, which I think Arthur has intended as forcing the pace so we’re caught up in all the action, she misses the boat of emotion. Especially in the sex scene between Lucian and Risa. There is such an opportunity for emotional upheaval, and we simply get the mechanics of it. It was more of a yeah, yeah, let me get this read so I can get on to the next bit.

On the plus side, we do make progress in the story. Some is positive — positively lethal anyway — and some is negative.

Blah, blah, blah…

The Story
Just a typical day in Risa Jones’ life, a wake-up call from that bitch Madeline Hunter sending her out with a task. Only this case involves Hunter emotionally and it ramps up the threat-level from the leader of the Directorate of Other Races.

It cannot distract, however, from her main task: finding that second key lest more Gates of Hell be opened.

The Characters
The waffly Risa Jones is a wolf shifter and an orphan since her mother’s murder, who carries the bloodthirsty sword, Amaya. We do learn she’s terrified of spiders, and she has great roommates and business partners: Tao is another wolf shifter, who has been affected by a fire elemental, and Ilianna is a gay horse shifter, who’s in love with Mirri. Carwyn is a stallion Ilianna’s parents want her to hook up with; she hasn’t come out to them yet. RYT is the name of the café that Risa, Ilianna, and Tao own.

Azriel is a Mijai, a reaper, assigned to follow Risa and aid her in finding, and then taking, the keys to prevent the Gates of Hell from being opened. His true name is Rephael. Valdis is his sword.

Madeline Hunter is a vampire in charge of the Directorate of Other Races as well as a leading member of the vampire council. It doesn’t do to anger her. At all. And Risa was stupid enough to make that deal with her. Cazadors are the high council’s elite killing force. Markel Sanchez is one of the Cazador vampires assigned to spy on Risa, one of their most dangerous. And it seems he enjoys his assignment. Nick Krogan and Janice Myer are others. Jack is Hunter’s brother and in charge of the Guardian Division. Wolfgang Schmidt was a vampire and Hunter’s lover.

Uncle Rhoan is a gay werewolf who works for the Guardian Division. His sister, Aunt Riley, another werewolf, is married to Quinn, a half-Aedh, half-vampire, and a former Cazador (their story is in the Riley Jenson, Guardian series, a MUCH better written series).

Stane is a computer geek friend of Risa’s and Tao’s cousin who can find anything and is being forced on a date. To be accompanied by both mothers, lol. Jak Talbott is a reporter who betrayed Risa, but he’s angling to get back in her bed. Danny, Rachel, Jacques, and Frank are employees at RYT. Maggie is the lady at the desk of the storage space.

Lucian Dupont is Risa’s former, and wingless, Aedh lover who put a spell on her to encourage her to sleep with him. Lauren McIntyre, a black sorcerer, is his current lover and partner. John Nadler is a faceshifter and possibly a sorcerer, but certainly the man behind the consortium trying to buy up land over a ley line intersection. Supposedly he’s died. But Risa thinks he may be Genevieve Sands, one of the heirs listed in his will. The Jorōgumo are spider demons who entrap and lull their prey with lutes. Dark Soul is one of the music clubs while Hallowed Ground is another where Risa meets a rival of Hunter’s: Harry Stanford, who makes Risa an offer. Classique Entertainers is a booking agency and James Parred is one of their agents. Jodie Summer and Di Shard are two of their performers.

The Brindle is the witch depository in Melbourne. Custodian Zaira is a witch horseshifter and Ilianna’s mother. Kiandra is the leader of the Brindle and a very powerful witch with a terrifying message for Risa!

Aedh are energy beings who live on the gray fields while the Raziq are rogue Aedh priests who had created the keys and then lost them. Her father, Hieu, was one of them until he went renegade and arranged for the keys to be stolen. Now he requires that Risa find them. Or watch her friends die. Malin is in charge of the Raziq, and Hieu’s former lover, who hates Risa for being the child of her father. She has altered Risa by inserting a device into her heart which notifies the Raziq when her father is around her. Razan are humans changed by the Raziq. Henry Mack, just one of his aliases, is also Mark Jackson, and a Razan.

Reapers, soul guides, are beings of energy who live on the gray fields, an area that divided earth from heaven and hell, a.k.a., the light and the dark portals. A Dušan looks like a tattoo, but is a protective shield on the gray fields. The Mijai are dark angels who hunt and kill the things that break free from hell. A Caomh is a life mate for a Reaper, someone who is in perfect harmony with his or her partner energy-wise.

The Cover
The cover seems a rainbow of green to orange of smoke to spiderwebs to a grate in the wall with a very cocky Risa off-center, her wings unfurled and sword in hand.

The title is all about Lucian, for his Darkness Unmasked. Both shocking and so very not.

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WARNING: Potential Phishing Site Selling Books to Access Your Credit Cards

by Kathy Davie

Image courtesy of Game Pill

Learn about online safety from your friends at the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communication Commission.

Nasty bit from Kate Douglas’ newsletter this evening about a Chinese website that is selling a slew of her books for really cheap prices. And I thought it may not be only Douglas’ books that may be offered up.

My concern is that Douglas mentioned that this is “a suspected phishing site based in China. We’re trying to get them shut down, but if you give them your credit card information, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of trouble. Some of these sites not only steal your personal data, they also plant malware on your computer capable of copying keystrokes and taking password information.”

Be wary.

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Book Review: Jennifer Estep’s Killer Frost

by Kathy Davie

Killer FrostKiller Frost by Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy, 6
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixth and last in the Mythos Academy urban fantasy series for Young Adults and revolving around Gwen Frost, Nike’s champion.

My Take
Although this was very realistic with Gwen obsessing over the next Reaper attack, it was wearing to read with the first half feeling as if Estep was being lazy and the last half being a great improvement.

The first part was so melodramatic and too predictable with Linus insisting on the “trap” and Gwen going behind everyone’s backs. That bit about stopping off at the airport to look over a bunch of artifacts when the Reaper threat was so great? Thinking they’re safe simply because they’re near the school? Why didn’t they have people protecting Grandma Frost? I mean, duhhh… It’s been a fun series, and it’s too bad that Estep didn’t make that extra bit of effort to twist the whole story and not just the last half.

Now was not the time to show any weakness? WTF? The Reapers already know how Gwen feels about her grandma. What other weakness is there??

Although, I did like the trap Gwen set later in the story! Very clever. And the final battle and the final death are truly tense and dramatic.

It was cute that Estep brought Rory and the Eir gryphons in on the final battles. Nice way to round things off.

Some nice goodbyes in here as well as a look through the fluttering pages of the future.

The Story
It’s a bittersweet reunion between Gwen and Logan in the days leading up to the Valentine’s Day dance. She loves him as he is, and he believes he doesn’t deserve her, not after events in Crimson Frost, 4.

Logan’s dad simply makes things worse with his singleminded pursuit and greed for power.

The Characters
Gwen Frost is Nike’s Champion and a Gypsy with a gift for psychometry, fated to kill Loki, or die. Vic is her talking sword. Nyx is the Fenrir pup she saved. Grandma Frost is a former Champion with the ability to see the future. Rory Forsetti is Gwen’s newfound cousin who goes to the Colorado branch of Mythos Academy, and Rachel Maddox is her aunt (see Midnight Frost, 5).

Logan Quinn is a Spartan and Gwen’s reluctant boyfriend. Daphne is her Valkyrie best friend who is dating Carson Callahan, the Celtic band geek, who carries the Horn of Roland. Alexei Sokokov, Gwen’s bodyguard, is Sergei’s son. Oliver Hector, a Spartan and one of Logan’s best friends, is Alexi’s boyfriend. Aiko is a Ninja and a Protectorate member who also guards Gwen.

Mythos Academy
Fellow students who chose to stay include Morgan McDougall, a Valkyrie; Kenzie Tanaka, another Spartan friend of Logan’s; Talia Pizarro is Tanaka’s Amazon girlfriend; Savannah Warren, Logan’s Amazon ex-girlfriend; and, Doug is her new boyfriend, a Viking.

The instructors include Professor Aurora Metis, who was Gwen’s mother’s friend and is now Gwen’s mentor; she’s also Athena’s Champion. Nickamedes is the now-crippled librarian who has been so mean to Gwen. Coach Ajax is in charge of their training. Raven is an old woman who works at the school.

Linus Quinn is Logan’s father and head of the Protectorate, the police force for the mythological world. Sergei Sokolov, a Bogatyr warrior, and Inari Sato are his friends and fellow members of the Protectorate.

The Reapers
Agrona Quinn was Logan’s stepmother and is the head of the Reapers. Vivian Holler is Loki’s Champion and carries the sword, Lucretia. The Black rocs provide the Reapers with easy getaways.

Nike is the Greek goddess of victory. Mythos Academy is a boarding school for the children of ancient mythological warriors: Amazons, Spartans, Romans, Vikings, and Valkyries. Eir is the Norse goddess of healing and mercy who gave Gwen the leaves. Sol is the Norse goddess of the sun.

Loki is the god of trickery and is worshipped by the Reapers. Sigyn is his wife, the goddess of devotion.

The Cover
The cover is an intense Gwen crouching in a ground fog, the red roiling clouds of an angry sky behind her.

The title is all about Gwen, for she’s the Killer Frost it all depends upon.

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Word Confusion: Porch versus Porsche

by Kathy Davie

It’s been a few years since I read that line in a novel, that the valets were parking all sorts of luxury vehicles: a Lamborghini, Maseratis, Rolls Royces, Porches… Screeeeeech…yup, that’s me brakes comin’ on…porch? How in god’s name does one park a porch? And ain’t it scary that this is the line that is most memorable to me about the book?

Naturally an image of a lovely farmhouse sort of porch came to mind…it was a warm blue-gray clapboard siding, a few steps up to a porch lined with pots of red geraniums, hanging ferns, and a white balustraded railing, a couple of old-time rockers angled in towards each other…

Yeah, not the image the author was going for…I think.

It’s an evolving list, these Word Confusions, and sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better. If you’d like to track it, “Porch versus Porsche” can also be found on my website. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Porch Porsche
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons & Brandonrush

From 0 to 60 in never.

By Agus964 (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Noun Noun
A covered shelter projecting in front of the entrance of a building

  • A veranda
High-performance sports and racing cars originally produced by Ferdinand Porsche’s company, and to his designs
I love sitting out on the porch during a rainstorm.

Mary’s out on the porch with Joe.

I love a porch that wraps around the sides of a house.

A Porsche is a classic sports car coveted by men.

The 356 Porsche is the root of the Porsche look.

Porsche is currently the world’s largest race car manufacturer (Wikipedia).

History of the Word:
Middle English from the Old French porche, which is from the Latin porticus meaning colonnade, from porta meaning passage. 1948 is when Ferdinand Porsche and his son first began to build Porsche sports cars (Porsche.com).

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Kathy Davie is an author, educator, and artist with a BS in Technical Writing & Editing with minors in Digital Media and History from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado.

A huge believer in knowledge being power, Kathy has an ongoing and free set of Author Tools for authors interested in self-editing including an online tutorial in Using Microsoft Word’s Markup Tool, words commonly confused by authors and Punctuation and Formatting Tips.

Contact Kathy for various writing and editing services.

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