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Information about me: I am a fantasy writer living in MA and currently seeking representation for my book CHAINBREAKER.

Writing: Here you can find out more about CHAINBREAKER and read FERAL, a short story featuring the same characters.

Contact info: Of course you want to contact me. I'm irresistibly magnetic. It wreaks havoc with my credit cards. Don't even ask about hardware stores.

And of course this blog right here:

  • Homophones: How do they work?

    Posted . Older posts

    Part of a series of grammar posts I'm writing for my CPs.

    Homophones are words that sound similar but have different meanings, like BEAR (n: fierce quadruped) and BARE (adj: naked). They are a problem for many people, and not just because they screw up phonetics.

    Why Homophones Screw With Your Head

    • If you're an auditory reader/writer, meaning you hear the words in your head while writing or reading, the different spellings are all but indistinguishable to you. (The bastards.)
    • Speech-to-text software, like Dragon Naturally Speaking or Siri, can't tell the different between homonyms. It tries to guess based on context, but... well.
    • Human short-term memory groups words by their sound, not by their meaning. So if you've been using more than one homonym, your brain becomes likely to mix them up after a couple of uses.
    • For the same reason, you're also more likely to make a homophone error when typing quickly for casual things like tweets. Which leads us to:
    • On the internet, commonly misused homophones gain power through social media. The more often you see PEAK misused as PEEK, the more likely you are to make that same mistake yourself.

    A Parade Of Homophones

    Here follows a list of the most common homophones I see misused.

    Common homophones, their meanings, and examples:

    homophone Meaning Examples
    BAREAdjective: naked, uncovered
    Verb: to uncover.
    The sunbather's bare skin gleamed with tanning oil.
    The whistle-blower laid bare all her employer's sins.
    The wolf bared its teeth in a snarl.
    BEARNoun: Big furry animal
    Verb: to carry, to endure
    Bears love honey.
    The favored concubine has borne many children for the king.
    I bore the burden for as long as I could.
    - Note the odd spelling of the past and perfect tenses!
    FLAIR Noun: style, drama, talent She has a flair for the dramatic.
    My boss insists waiters wear 17 "pieces of flair".
    This sparkly scarf adds flair to my outfit.
    FLARE Noun: An increase
    Verb: To increase
    (In both cases, usually refers to brightness, intensity, or width)
    A match flared in the darkness.
    Her temper flared and she started shouting.
    My bell-bottom pants have a wide flare at the ankle.
    HEALVerb: To cure a wound or ailment The bruise will heal in a few days.
    Our D&D party needs a healer.
    HEEL Noun: The back of your foot That's my Achilles heel.
    His heels hurt from standing up all day.
    PALATENoun: the roof of your mouth; also, your personal tastes The baby was born with a cleft palate.
    Some people find bitter foods pleasing to their palates.
    PALLET Noun: Unit used for shipping large volumes, for convenient lifting via forklift My company ordered three pallets of lumber.
    The warehouse had pallets stacked to the ceiling.
    PALETTE Noun: Collection of colors, traditionally an artist's paints Photoshop can save a custom color palette.
    The oil painter held her palette in her left hand.
    PEAK Noun: highest point
    Verb: to reach its highest point
    I peaked in high school, it's all been downhill from there.
    The peak of Mount Everest is the highest point in the world.
    IMPORTANT NOTE: "Peaked" (but not "peak") can also be an adjective, meaning "pale or wan". It is pronounced differently (two syllables), however, so it's not a true homonym.
    PEEKVerb: to peer out from behind something or take a quick look The sun peeked above the horizon.
    I took a peek at the report before I handed it to my boss.
    PIQUEVerb: to stimulate, used for appetite or interest
    Noun: anger, annoyance, irritation
    The demonstration piqued my interest.
    He left in a fit of pique, slamming the door behind him.
    VICIOUS Adjective: Fierce, cruel, brutal A vicious animal.
    The murderer left vicious slashes in the victim's face.
    VISCOUSAdjective: Goopy, syrupy, thick The fuel gel was too viscous to flow through the narrow tube.
    My gravy came out way too viscous.

  • Wound Healing in Stories

    This is a "need-to-know only" article about wounds and wound healing, for writers with little or no medical training.