Showing posts from February, 2011

Editing for Grammarphobes: Let's Hear It for the Writing Awards


What is your favorite thing about the Oscars?

The fashion? Gwyneth Paltrow’s shimmery dress was gorgeous. Helen Mirren always looks spectacular. Helena Bonham Carter’s black bustle was fun and totally her.

Rating the hosts? Anne Hathaway was good and looked beautiful in every dress she changed into. James Franco, not so much, especially in the Marilyn Monroe costume.

Cheering for your favorite to win? I was rooting on Colin Firth and “The King’s Speech.” Great actor. Great movie. I was glad to see him win after so many years of magnificent performances.

All of this is good fun, but my favorite time of the night is the Writing Awards, when I am known to yell “Whooo! Writers!” and sport a silly smile on my face.

Writing is such a God-awful, gut-wrenching profession, I love when one of us, no matter who it is, receives recognition. I am happy for Aaron Sorkin who won Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for “The Social Network.” 

However, for me, the story of th…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Romance Month Ends


Romance Month ends today with a bonus two stories. Enjoy.

Kismet in the Moonlight
By Cleveland W. Gibson

Rikki Gomez cursed his huge body.

In Zorba’s Bar in Window Rock he cursed again for making beer his God.

“I heard that,” the stranger said.

Rikki turned.

“Your curse? To get rid of fat. You want to slim down? Right?” the man continued.

Rikki leaned back. He noted the black hair shot with grey, long, tied in a plait and hanging at the man’s back. The suited Native American dressed well. The man promoted a good image to impress Rikki.

“Sure. I’m no Don Juan. I’m a slob.” Rikki ordered beer.

“Then let me help,” the stranger continued. “I’m Johnny Tosie, mystic leader of the Nakota tribe.”

Johnny showed Rikki a piece of translucent paper.

“What is it?”

“Human skin,” Johnny replied, “from the nipples of a high priestess. The tiny symbols represent Miakoda, the eternal power of the Moon. Keep this on your person and you will lose weight. Discover your soul m…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Did You Know...?


...the word is memento, not momento, when referring to a souvenir or keepsake?

...fortuitous means to be limited to what happens by chance and is not an adjective version of fortunate or lucky?

...disinterested is impartial and should not be confused with not interested in.

Coming Friday

Romance month finishes up with two interesting takes on love by Cleveland Gibson and Deborah Brodie. Next up, comedy.

Editing for Grammarphobes: Adventures in Punditry


Here are some words I have heard thrown around by television political pundits and the comedians who mock them. I thought it might be handy to list their definitions as a continuation of Wednesday’s vocabulary post.

Again, all definitions are taken from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and


This word means “government by the wealthy” or a “controlling class of the wealthy.” It also can mean a group of people exercising power or influence by virtue of its wealth.


Slightly different from plutocracy, an oligarchy is a government in which a small group exercises control and has all of the power. Government by the few rather than the majority. Webster adds this small group usually wields their power for selfish and corrupt purposes.


Capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods or investments that are determined by private decision rather than …

Welcome. Would You Like Some Punch?


Today, I am excited to be participating in the SheWrites B&W Blogger Ball. Thanks so much to Meg Waite Clayton for organizing this. 

For those who are here for the first time, thank you for stopping by. Here's a bit of information about my blog. Bibliophilic Blather features "Editing for Grammarphobes" every Monday and Wednesday, plus "Flash Fiction Fridays," which showcases authors of various genres interpreting monthly themes in 500 words or less. Feel free to check out the themes and deadlines on the right side of the page, if you are interested in participating. 

My tip for bloggers is this: create a niche for yourself. There are so many blogs, all competing for readership and a chance to get noticed. Think about what you have to offer the world or your genre that maybe someone else cannot. 

Again, thanks for visiting. Have a seat. Grab a beverage. Make yourself at home. I look forward to visiting your blogs.

Editing for Grammarphobes: What Does It Mean?


Some words have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years and are now tossed about freely, sometimes almost overdone. But what do they really mean?

Get ready. It’s vocabulary time. (Don’t worry. There will not be a quiz on Friday.)

All of the definitions are courtesy of the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and


Zeitgeist means “the general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era.”


John Steinbeck captured the zeitgeist of migrant workers in The Grapes of Wrath. 


This word is “stodgy, narrow and often ostentatiously or pretentiously learned.”


Some people dismiss grammar rules as pedantic, yet fail to remember they need them for effective communication.


Esoteric means “designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone;” such as those who have special knowledge of the topic.


Poetry is filled with esoteric allusions, including those from Greek or Roman mythology. 





I hate Valentine’s Day with all of its obnoxious pink and frills. Obviously, marriage has made the holiday a lot easier by eliminating old anxieties such as “Will I get a Valentine?” or “Does he really like me?” No and no. Just kidding. But enough about my personal life.

This Valentine’s Day, I would rather focus on something that has been a constant in my life since I was a wee tot and still am very much in love with today — books. Besides my children (and sometimes despite my children), nothing makes me happier than settling into a comfortable chair with a good book and my beverage of choice beside me. Hot in the winter. Iced in the summer.

What are your favorites?

Post them in the comments section for a chance to win a Kindle copy of A Whisper to a Scream. It’s my Valentine to you.

Here are some books that affected me profoundly.

A Room of One’s Own 
Virginia Woolf struck a chord with me in this brilliant analysis of women and writing, which is as relev…

The Romance Continues on Flash Fiction Fridays

Today, Bibliophilic Blather is fortunate to have two romance flash fiction stories. Love is in the air for these couples, whether they be living or dead.


Under the Glass  By Victorine Lieske

Steven Ashton squeezed Emily’s hand as the elevator lifted. “You’ll be fine.”

Her wide eyes stared up at him. “I feel naked.”

Heat rose to his cheeks, and he fiddled with his tux. “We could have kept looking…”

Emily shook her head. “It’s not the dress. Although I still think you shouldn’t have spent so much.” She ran her hand down the shiny material. “It’s the bug-under-the-glass feeling.”

Sympathy for her arose, but he knew there was nothing he could do about it. Social functions were a part of his life. If he didn’t bring her to this one, the next would be even worse. “I’m sorry. If it’s worth anything, I think you look beautiful.”

She smirked and brushed a golden curl from her face. “Thanks, but your credibility is waning after what you said last night.”

“Hey, you wer…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Still More Common Word Errors

Today, I present five examples of words that are misused every day.


The word, unique, means one of a kind. It is unique in and of itself. One cannot write or say something is truly unique or very unique. It is unique, period.

Toward and Afterward

Those are the correct words, not towards and afterwards, which do not exist in American English. They have been misspoken so often, even I had to look up toward this week. Gasp!


The definition of random is having no specific pattern or purpose. Consequently, this word should not be used in conjunction with people. It is rude. 

A random man asked me if I had the time. 

Since the man clearly has some purpose in life, even if it is not evident to you, random is the wrong word. He was not random, but rather a stranger.


Most of the time, when writers use the term anti-social, they really mean asocial, which is someone who does not like to hang out with others.
Anti-social means going …

Editing for Grammarphobes: More Commonly Misused Words


There are so many, I could go on with this topic for pages and pages, but let’s go with five for today. I like to sprinkle them in every few weeks.


A premier is serves as the first minister in a national government that has a council of ministers. Prime minister is a synonym of premier.

Premiere is a first performance, whether it refers to a movie, play or symphony.


Alumnus is a male graduate of a school, college or university. The plural is alumni.

Alumna is a female graduate. The plural is alumnae.

If there is a mixed group of men and women, alumni is used.


Capital refers to a city in which the seat of government is located. It also describes money and resources used by a business or individual.

The Capitol is the building where lawmakers meet in Washington, D.C.


Acute means sharp, or when referring to an illness, one that worsens quickly and reaches a crisis.

Chronic means long-lasting…

Flash Fiction Fridays: It's Romance Month


Our Place By Jeanette A. Fratto 

I slid onto the stool at the counter of Duke’s Diner, a neighborhood eatery convenient to my office. Today I was there out of habit more than hunger. I had an important meeting this afternoon and didn’t want to go on an empty stomach, but last night’s argument with Jeffrey kept repeating in my head, killing my appetite.

We were approaching our third wedding anniversary. Instead of plans for a happy celebration we seemed to be disagreeing over too many things. Last night it was whether we should buy a house or continue renting for another year. A week ago we couldn’t agree on where to take a short vacation this summer, one we both needed badly. I loved Jeffrey and I knew he loved me but we were acting like two mismatched people heading for a divorce. 

“Do you mind passing the cream?”

I hadn’t noticed the elderly lady seated to my right, so engrossed had I been in my thoughts. “Of course,” I answered as I gave it to her.


Editing for Grammarphobes: Islam


Today’s topic deals with words I have heard used incorrectly multiple times in conversations. We owe it to the more than 1.2 billion Muslims around the world to get this right.

The major world religion founded by Muhammad is Islam. People who follow Islam are called Muslims. “Muslim” is not a religion. There is no such thing as “Muslimism” and no people called “Islamites.”

The adjective version of Islam is Islamic, but Islamic should not be used when referring to the followers of Islam. The proper word is Muslim.

The sacred scripture of Islam, the Quran, is in Arabic.

Although Arabic is the language of the holy book and prayers, not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs.