Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hook Me Up

I had my people contact Ellen DeGeneres (i.e., I submitted a message via her website). The purpose of said message was to convince her that I would be the perfect guest for her show. Have you heard of her show? I think it’s getting popular. 

It’s been two months, and her Internet must be down—I haven’t heard back. 

However, although appearing on her show would undoubtedly help with book sales, after what happened at one of my book signings, I am kind of relieved that the Wi-Fi in Ellen’s neighborhood is spotty. 

Here’s what happened: this lovely lady came up to me and asked if I had a trick to remember the difference between “continually” and “continuously.” Not only did I not have a trick to remember the difference; I didn’t really even know the difference myself. That got me thinking: What would happen if Ellen asked, “Jenny, how do you feel about the nominative absolute?” I imagine my head would start spinning around Exorcist-style.

I certainly don’t know all the grammar rules off the top of my head. But I am pretty good at knowing what I don’t know. For example, I just had to look up whether “backup,” “back-up,” or back up” was correct. (It’s “backup” for a noun or adjective and “back up” for a verb.) 

I honestly believe that, although it’s great to actually know proper spelling and grammatical rules, it’s equally or more important to be aware of what you don’t know and how to access the resources that will help you. (For example, there’s this great writing skills guide called Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares you might want to check out. I hear it’s life-changing.)

So I looked up the difference between “continually” and “continuously” and here’s the difference: 

Continually- of regular or frequent recurrence; often repeated; very frequent

Continuously- uninterrupted in time; without cessation

Therefore, I continually look up grammar rules. It would be impossible to look them up continuously. That would mean that I never stop—that I even look them up in my sleep. 

However, what if there was a Matrix-style contraption that fed me grammar rules in my sleep? Then, I would be totally ready for Ellen.

Will someone get on that?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'm High

As many of you know, I had my first book signing on Sunday. I'm still on a high from it--and no, not because there was anything funny in the punctuation cupcakes I served.

It's because I'm so grateful and humbled by how many people came out to support me: my family, my high school friends, my writing friends, my yoga friends, my co-workers, my co-workers' friends and family, my former co-workers, my mom's friends, and even some blog friends.

Thank you so so much!

The other girl in the picture is my friend Emily. She used to be the librarian on my campus until she got fired for throwing a book at a student. I'm kidding; she didn't get fired. Nor did she throw a book at a student. Although, that would have been kind of awesome. She just got a different job. But she definitely deserves a shout out because I had her proofread every word I wrote and made her listen to every stupid grammar idea I came up with. Luckily (for me, not her), we're neighbors.

And here's where I'm not so humble: the owners told me I was the first local author to sell out of books! Isn't that cool?

And here's where I engage in shameless promotion: I am having another signing on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Barnes and Nobles in Manhattan Beach. Here's the address: 1800 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

Come see me! I'm addicted.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When I Think About Me, I Touch Myself

I am experiencing very high self-esteem at the moment. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so into myself. And the reason? A good hair day? No. Number one on the New York Times Bestseller List? Nope.  

It’s these bookmarks I came up with to give away at my book signing on Sunday:

I love them! 

I love them so much I want to share them with the world. 

If you love them as much as I do, I will mail one of each to the first 20 people who ask (because I have 20 stamps left.)Leave your email address in the comments section.

Or, better yet, if you want to get one in person, come see me at my book signings: 

Sunday, October 14, 11:30-1:30
Apostrophe Books
4712 East 2nd Street
Long Beach, CA 90803

Saturday, Oct. 20, 11-2
Barnes and Nobles
1800 Rosecrans Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Did I mention there will be punctuation cupcakes?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Don't Need No Eggucation

Remember the movie Runaway Bride starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? That’s okay; I mostly don’t either. There’s just one part that stuck with me:  Richard Gere pointed out that in every relationship Julia is in she orders the same egg dish as her boyfriend. I think that stuck with me because I had a friend who did the same thing but with beer. 

Most of us have to change a little when we get into a relationship—it’s what they call compromise—but some people really change when, as we say in the grammar industry, they go from singular to plural. 

Some words do too. When most words change from singular to plural, they simply accumulate an s (e.g., egg becomes eggs). But some words change in more dramatic ways. When man and woman become plural, they exchange their a’s for e’s; and when child becomes plural, it goes crazy and slaps on ren. 

And it’s cool; I’m not judging. Sometimes it’s good to make drastic changes. Maybe Julia never would have tried poached eggs and then realized she loved them, which is great because they are so much healthier than fried. 

So why do I bring this up?

Because I saw this the other day:

Most of the time, we place the apostrophe outside the s when we are showing plural possession. For example:

She always copies her boyfriends’ egg orders.

Because the apostrophe is outside the s, it’s clear to the reader that we are referring to the egg orders of more than one of her boyfriends, as opposed to:

She always copies her boyfriend’s egg orders.

Because the apostrophe is before the s, it shows the reader that we are talking about the egg orders of only one boyfriend.

So what’s the problem with placing the apostrophe after the s in children, you might ask. It’s plural after all.

Well, here’s the thing: The word children is only plural. We can never say there is one children. Well, it’s a free country; we can say it, but we’d be grammatically incorrect. There’s no reason to place the apostrophe after the s; we already know we are talking about more than one child. Therefore, the correct way to express it is “Children’s Education Rooms.”

Although, now I am totally freaked out about what kind of education these children are getting!