Calliope Writing

Questioning Your Grammar? Bookmark These Helpful Resources
May 27, 2015, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Grammar, Resources | Tags: , ,

Writing and stuck with a grammatical situation you aren’t sure how to handle? There are plenty of helpful resources (other than me, of course!) you can turn to so you can elevate your article, blog post, manuscript, etc., to Grammatically Awesome status.

grammarGrammar Resources to Bookmark ASAP

Grammar Girl – Over on, the sassy Grammar Girl doles out language rules using examples and shortcuts to make sure the rule is ingrained into your mind. If looking for the answer to a specific question, use the site’s search function to find what you need.

Dr. Grammar – Dr. Grammar has a great list of common grammar/language mistakes on the site’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Pain in the English – Who doesn’t love a good play on words? This site is very simple to navigate, and the search function makes it easy for you to see all posts related to your grammatical issue.

Grammar Bytes – Isn’t that shark the cutest? If you haven’t clicked on the link to the left, go ahead and see that awesome shark I’m talking about. With some seriously clean web design, this site provides tons of grammar tips and tricks you can search or just browse through.

Style Guide in Use?

A final consideration before implementing any rules found on the above resources: Are you writing or editing according to a particular style guide, such as Chicago or AP? If you’re not dealing with a house style guide but are following a universal style guide and your grammar question is pretty specific, use your style’s manual to address your inquiry first. If you can’t find the answer, then check out the above resources.

Here are resources for the most common style guides:

The Chicago Manual of Style – Typically, manuscript-length pieces–that aren’t academic or scientific–are edited to adhere to this style.

Associated Press Stylebook – AP style is used primarily for journalistic content.

Purdue OWL’s MLA Style Guide – A great alternative to the print style guide of this, the Modern Language Association style.

Other Reference Books You Should Have

The Elements of Style – This is a great book that I strongly encourage you to check out and then follow the rules included. However, for trickier sentences or grammar issues, you’ll likely need to access one of the above resources.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Because…duh. You won’t always have access to the Internet so you can double-check a spelling.

What are some of your favorite writing resources to access when you’re stuck with a grammar question?

Dinner with Three Iconic (IMHO) Men
May 21, 2015, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Books, Literature | Tags: , , ,

In the answer to the age-old question, “What three people, dead or alive, would you have dinner with if you could,” I find that all three of my people are men, and all of them are alive.

I guess I have a thing for live dudes. Badum-cha!

Additionally, they’re all writers. But I’ll assume you expected that.

So, without further delay, in no particular order, here are the three men I’d like to have dinner with:

Chuck Palahniuk

Photo Credit: Allan Amato

Photo Credit: Allan Amato

I unashamedly admit that yes, I only started reading Chuck Palahniuk because of the film Fight Club. It was just so badass! But after reading the novel, I knew this guy had something special up his writer’s sleeve, and his something special came with a twist of chaotic perversity that I really liked.

Top Five Chuck Palahniuk Books, AK (According to Katrina)

  1. Invisible Monsters – I’ve only read this novel once, but I remember closing the book after reading the last page and thinking, Holy shit.
  2. Fight Club – Duh.
  3. Lullaby – Such an awesome concept and a really enjoyable reading experience.
  4. Choke – So perverted. I felt a little dirty reading it (not nearly as dirty as I felt while reading Beautiful You), and that’s always fun.
  5. Haunted – In particular, I loved “Guts” and “Slumming.”

John Irving

My love affair with John Irving only began two years ago. I picked up a copy of Until I Find You because, let’s face it: I like tattoos. His writing style, tone, characterization, etc., are so amazing that I instantly starting buying more of his stuff.

Since I’ve only read three of Irving’s novels, it would be impossible for me to come up with a top-three or a top-five list of his books. All I’ll say is: In One Person was pure, brilliant, beautiful genius splashed with a large dose of humanity.

Stephen King

stephen king

Photo Credit: Shane Leonard

I read my first Stephen King novel when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. After years of gobbling up R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, I thought I was ready for the big leagues, and my parents figured so, too. What was my first King book? If I had to guess, I’d say either Misery or Carrie. Or maybe one of his short story collections. Whatever. I have an awful memory.

If you’re not a King fan, that’s fine. We all have opinions, and not all of them have to be good.

Top Five Stephen King Books, AK 

  1. The Shining – By far scared me more than any other book ever. When I’m alone for a night, I still check the bathtub to make sure that woman isn’t lying in there. If you’ve read it, you know who I mean.
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three – This series is my all-time favorite literary series (yes, I know–even over and above Tolkien’s…sue me). Since I read it and met Eddie Dean, I’ve been in love (sorry, husband-piece).
  3. Joyland – I actually cried when this book was over. Not even because it was sad or particularly touching, but because it was over. What a freaking fun ride.
  4. The Eyes of the Dragon – Fantasy and horror meet, and Stephen King is the puppetmaster. And it actually worked. Of course I loved it.
  5. From a Buick 8 – I didn’t expect to like this book. At all. But as I read it, I began to love and hate its characters, and I realized that SK had waved his magic wand and pulled me in yet again.

These are my three fantasy dinner mates in the cliched hypothetical scenario.

Who are yours?

The Oxford Comma: Fight to the Death
May 19, 2015, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Comma, Grammar | Tags: , ,

arm wrestling

Before we can be friends, I need to know one thing…

How do you feel about the Oxford comma? Are you pro-OC or anti-OC?

The answer to this question will put you with me or against me in the ever-consistent Battle of the Oxford Comma, so I really, really have to know.

If you need reminding, the Oxford, or serial, comma is defined by as “a comma between the final items in a list, often preceding the word ‘and’ oror.'” Still not getting it? Here’s a visual for you:


Got it? Good.

Before you hastily say, “That comma is pointless. Why waste my time writing or typing that extra character?” – you might want to check out some visual representations of why the Oxford comma is such a great idea.



You blasphemer! Still not convinced? Continue scrolling.



Nelson Mandela was not an 800-year-old demigod! As for the dildo collecting…not sure about that one.

And finally, if you still aren’t convinced that the Oxford comma is the only way to go:


Then it means you want to eat Grandpa. You dick.

What’s your take on the Oxford comma? And if you’re against it…I’m taking back that BFF necklace I got you.

Images via Buzzfeed, The American Genius, Ooligan Press, The YUNiversity

I Will Always Want to Eat Your Brrraaaiinnnnnsssss
May 14, 2015, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Literature | Tags: , ,

zombies in horrorI was exposed to the horror genre at a young age. No, I don’t mean I was a preteen sneaking into R-rated movies. I was five years old, snuggled up against my parents on the couch. (Don’t worry–they told me to close my eyes during the sex scenes.)

This probably goes without saying, but I had disturbing, terrible nightmares and soon depended upon a nightlight to get any rest.

This love of gore and chills has followed me since that first scary movie, and I love pretty much all subgenres that typically fall under the label “horror.” One subgenre in particular has its rotten, fleshy grip on my heart:


I truly fell in love with zombies after watching the film 28 Days Later (2002). This was around the beginning of what was to be more than a decade of zombie fandom, and it was definitely the start of my personal zombie fandom.

According to the trustworthy* Wikipedia, the first piece of literature about zombies was Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West—Reanimator,” published in 1921. Oh, Wikipedia. You sweet, poor, naive creature. This simply is not so.

Mentions of zombies–or, as they were referred to in more “refined” times, the undead or ghouls–in storytelling can be traced back to The Epic of Gilgamesh, from the delightful Middle Ages (specifically, the 18th century BCE). See for yourself:

If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,

I will smash the doorposts, and leave the doors flat down,

and will let the dead go up to eat the living!

And the dead will outnumber the living!

Translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs

So, long before the eerie, unforgettable words “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” (Night of the Living Dead1968) were spoken, people were already more than a little creeped out by flesh-eating zombies.

Are you a lover of the undead? (If not, why the hell not?)

*For those who didn’t notice my sarcasm: Wikipedia is never, ever to be trusted.
scary zombie

Eff a Duck. My Consistency Sucks.
May 12, 2015, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Language | Tags: , ,

sayingsSince I try to be kid-friendly in almost everything I do (there may be a couple of social media accounts where I let my curse-ridden freak flag fly), I couldn’t indulge in the entire rhyming phrase I muttered to myself when I visited my blog today.

F–k a duck. I can’t believe I’ve once again let you down, my faithful readers. All twelve of you. It’s been four months since I last checked in.

This time I’m not messing around. I promise you, my four followers, a blog post with a nugget of literary- or language-related goodness by the end of the week. And two to four posts weekly from here on out.

Back to the ducks.


Don’t worry, little one…you’re a goose, not a duck.

It seems that the first time the phrase “f–k a duck” was put down on paper was in Henry Miller’s Tropic of CancerWay to utilize the ever-popular literary tool of the rhyme, Henry.

As Slate reports:

Linguistic experts claim that the original inspi­ration [of the phrase ‘f–k a duck’] was the word duckfucker, the person on board a trans­atlantic ship who was charged with keeping the domestic animals alive, rather than pleasuring them in exotic ways. This word in turn entered American stoner slang as a term for an annoying idiot.

And now you’ve learned something new.

Come back later this week for another post–or even better, formally follow my blog (the little “follow” is either at the bottom right or upper left of your screen) so you don’t miss the next one!

Back in the Game!
January 30, 2015, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Update | Tags: , ,

TypewriterHowdy, howdy!

I’ve been extremely busy, as the previous post from–gasp!–2013 declares, but I knew that it was well past time to give an update to any followers of this blog that might be left.

As of this month, I have begun taking on new freelance editing positions. I’m specifically interested in editing fiction stories or manuscripts, but if you think we’d work together and have a project you’d like to discuss (fiction or not), please be sure to contact me!

Beginning now, I’m going to be checking in and blogging at least once per week. Some weeks, the post may be short, like this one, but other weeks, it might be pretty long. (I know, I know–consistency is key…but let’s be realistic.)

I began reading The Artist’s Way and am both excited and anxious about the weeks ahead. It promises to be an emotional journey, but if it can help me be more disciplined about my writing–and maybe spark some creativity–then I’m happy to devote myself to it.

Have any of you read or followed the program outlined in The Artist’s Way? If so, what was your reaction?

July 25, 2013, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Hi there, blogosphere!

I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA for such a long time. Things have been INSANE on my end, and I’ve been very busy with various writing and editing jobs.

First, I was hired full-time by Media Shower to manage their Guest Blog Post Program. (Looking for some blog posts to publish on your blog? We have a bunch up for grabs here:

Then, shortly after, I became editor of a local magazine, Mt. Pleasant Lifestyle.

So so busy!

What’s been going on in your life?


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