Tag Archives: Book Recommendation



Does any of my fellow writers frustrate themselves about the placement of commas as much as I do?

As a soon to be self-published author, I am undecided about which punctuation standard to use: US, UK or Caribbean. I am an Island Girl, but most of the books I have read use the US standard. My books will be available online to anyone, anywhere in the world, and since I expect an audience from the US and UK as well, I wonder:

How much of a difference does punctuation style make, especially to the readers?

Today, punctuation is a clash between rules and style. I never underestimate the importance of rules because a comma in the wrong place can change the meaning or readability of a sentence.

It is a good practice to stick to the rules of one country. If a writer is fortunate to have their work published in a subsequent country (e.g. US author also published in the UK), the UK publisher may change the punctuation to suit their rules. This brings me to another question:

How should a self-published author choose a standard if they market mainly online?

In the Caribbean, we do not put commas before conjunctions, even if they separate two clauses. We follow the general rule of separating words in lists with commas. However, we do not put commas after the second-to-last item on a list, if a conjunction follows it. E.g. basketball, football, tennis and swimming.

Examples of other rules for commas

– Commas after sentence introductions. YES
E.g. As you are well aware,
On a beach in the Caribbean,

– Commas after transitional phrases. YES
E.g. Therefore,

– Commas before speech marks. YES
E.g. He told her, “Please leave me alone.”
Annie asked, “Could you be quiet?”

Good Writing

One attribute of good writing is that it should be easily understandable. A reader should not have to reread a sentence to understand what the writer meant. For this to happen, it is important to follow rules. On the other hand, a writer’s style is distinct by the words they choose, the length of their sentences and how they punctuate and structure their sentences. Their style is usually influenced by the genre or the purpose of their works.

Please comment on this post. I would greatly appreciate some advice.


connectingIt’s been six weeks since I have written a diary post. I’ve been working feverishly editing my novel, and I felt that I did not want to write another post if it was not an announcement of a release date. Well, I don’t have that announcement today.

Editing is one hundred times more work than I expected. Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, and I have someone helping me edit, who has been an asset to the project. It has been an experience that has thought me that I have to take a different approach to editing, the next time around. Though I have been seriously editing for almost four months, I still stand by my promise that I will not publish until I am satisfied with my product, and right now I am not. The good news is that my book has improved tremendously, and I have learned lessons that would probably make the next project shorter.

Things I have learned along the way:

1. You have to be the hardest working person on your project.

2. If you are not meticulous by nature, learn to be.

3. Be open to advice. Listen to a different point of view but be true to the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.

4. Learn the business as much as you learn the craft.

5. Read, read, read and read some more.

6. Don’t neglect your platform.

7. For those of us who cannot afford professional ‘novel’ editors, compare the recommendations of two persons who have a combination of these characteristics:
• Proficient in English
• Avid reader
• Have some editing experience

8. Don’t have your work proofread until you are absolutely sure that you are finished editing and are satisfied with your product.

9. Most people don’t speak proper English. Sometimes trying to achieve that standard makes your dialogue sound unrealistic.

10. Set deadlines for yourself or you might be writing one book forever.

One of my favorite Joel Osteen messages is CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE (see video below). I’ve watched it maybe twenty times. In my life experience, I feel like I have been shielded from making some mistakes and have been rescued by what I call faith and some call coincidence; all because of crossing paths with the right people at the right time.

Five years ago I would have been frustrated with this project, even though I will fulfill a dream by publishing this book, I would have long got tired of the back-and-forth that comes with editing. Thank God I don’t think that way anymore. Every time there is a change to be made or an error is found I am grateful – Grateful that my self-published novel is going to be to the standard of one that was published by a big publishing house, grateful that I am willing to do the work and work with people who have the same work ethic, grateful that the discovery of one misspelling or grammatical error is like someone stopping you from skidding on a banana peel – it won’t kill you but who wants to fall if it can be avoided.




Today is exactly one year since I registered with WordPress.com. I am happy to inform you that I will be posting the book cover for Selima and the Merfolk tomorrow, December 31st 2013.

Please visit. I’d love to read your comments.

Enjoy this teaser. I promise you will not be disappointed with the completed work.

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The Alchemist 2“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better.” Paulo Coelho

Early this year I saw a clip of a Tavis Smiley interview with the actor Will Smith. Smith was promoting his movie, I am Legend, and he mentioned that The Alchemist was one of his favorite books. He was very emphatic about his belief in the concept of the bestseller by Paulo Coelho. Though I was unfamiliar with the author, Smith’s passion encouraged me to put The Alchemist on my ‘must read’ list.

Two weeks ago I bought the book. It is a short, but very powerful read. The Alchemist chronicles the journey of a boy named Santiago, who chose to be a Sheppard instead of a Priest. He wanted to travel, and to be a Sheppard gave him that opportunity. He was contented with his life until he had a dream that proposed he could have much more. At first, he was skeptical that his dream was literal, and he did not want to leave his sheep or the chance that he could marry a girl he barely knew. He met a king who convinced him to pursue the dream, and so the boy sold his sheep, and went to Africa.

In Africa, Santiago sought knowledge, and the treasure his dream promised. Many unforeseen trials threatened his victory. The more knowledgeable he became, he began to understand that everything was connected. His perseverance rewarded him with many valuable comrades, including an Alchemist, who helped him believe in his Personal Legend. He also fell in love with a girl from the desert, Fatima. His love for Fatima made him want to end his search to build a life with her. She told him that he should not let love divert his journey, and she promised to wait for his return.

In the end the boy triumphed. He saw his journey come full circle, and he honored his promises.

When I finished The Alchemist, I wanted to read it again immediately. I wanted to maintain the feeling of hope I felt as I read it, as well as the desire to follow my own dreams. I recommend this book to anyone who needs encouragement to make their dreams a reality. Sometimes your dreams are too big for others to believe possible. If fear of ridicule is holding you back just don’t tell anyone. Decide what you want and do it. Get educated about whatever it is. Use every spare moment you have to build on it, so when your opportunity comes you are ready.

“If you stay ready you ain’t got to get ready.” Will Smith