Eleventh Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Turtle Soup by Danielle Thorne

eleventh day giveaway: Turtle Soup by Danielle Thorne

Sea turtles may be endangered but after an encounter with marine biologist, Jack Brandon, nothing will stop Sara Hart from naming her deli, Turtle Soup. When Jack takes a job at the Georgia Aquarium nearby, Sara finds the environmental poster boy at her door, hungry but carrying a chip on his shoulder. Neither thinks the other has what it takes, until a scuba class reveals what lies beneath the surface.

About the Author

Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea.

Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.

Grab your Eleventh Day Giveaway

This sweet romantic comedy is free TODAY, December 24, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PE6UH94

Tenth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A Thrill of Hope by Marie Higgins

tenth day giveaway: A Thrill of Hope by Marie Higgins

Holly Kidman is determined to be the best movie-producer California has ever seen … until her mother’s broken leg ruins Holly’s plans and she must return home for the holidays. During her stay in her home town of Timberland, Montana, fate throws her with a man she’d rather not be around. And yet, once she can get past old grudges, she realizes the charming man and his large ranch inspire her more than she thought possible. Dare she hope for her dream-come-true?

Rafe Montgomery is pleasantly surprised when Holly suddenly returns to town. Still haunted by the one, less than eloquent, kiss they’d shared years ago, he’s disappointed by the haughty attitude she’s come back with. His hope is to change the stubborn and unforgiving woman he’s slowly having feelings for and to show her what Christmas is all about.

About the Author

Marie Higgins is an award-winning, best-selling author of clean romance novels that melt your heart and have you falling in love over and over again. Since 2010, she’s published over 50 heartwarming, on-the-edge-of-your-seat romances. She’s broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her “Queen of Tease” because of all her twists and turns and unexpected endings.

Connect with Marie Higgins

Grab your Tenth Day Giveaway

A Thrill of Hope is available TODAY, December 23, from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077XRTQRQ/

Ninth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Namesake by Kate Stradling

ninth day giveaway: Namesake by Kate Stradling

“Who needs magic in an age of electricity? I can flip the switch on the wall with the best of them.”

Anjeni Sigourna bears the name of a legendary goddess, but her resemblance to that honored figure ends there. Eighteen and jaded, she has cultivated sarcasm instead of the elusive magic everyone expects her to possess. Such mystic power lacks purpose in her modern world.

But when an adverse encounter with the Eternity Gate lands her in an alien realm, magic marks the boundary between life and certain death. Anjeni alone holds the keys to saving an ancient people from a savage enemy. Her bitterness notwithstanding, she must now create a legend instead of living in its shadow.

About the Author

Kate Stradling is a structure junkie who adores the English language. Her novels flit through the fantasy spectrum, from dystopia lite to fairy tales to time-travel adventures. She blogs about literary tropes and word-smithing at katestradling.com and makes her home in sunny Mesa, Arizona.

And readers, she’s pretty flippin’ amazing, if I do say so myself.

(Jk, jk. I’d see myself out, but I live here.)

Grab your Ninth Day Giveaway

Namesake is available for free TODAY ONLY, December 22, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MLW3KP/

Eighth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Shattered Faith by Elle Scott

Eighth day giveaway: Shattered Faith by Elle Scott

You never know the strength of your faith, until it is tested.

When Elle Scott’s life crumbled around her, she thought God had abandoned her, His perceived silence resulted in a total loss of her faith and hope

and left her near suicide, until, she learned the reason God fell silent and the expectations He held for her.

Sentenced to nearly four years in a Federal Prison for a crime she did not commit destroyed every belief she held true. Her young children left in dire conditions, her life in ruins, and her Heavenly Father nowhere to be found.

This is a true story of courage, inspiration, redemption and restored faith.

Grab your Eighth Day Giveaway

Shattered Faith is free TODAY, December 21, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY41Z7W

Seventh Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

The Spectra Unearthed by Christie Valentine Powell

seventh day giveaway: The Spectra Unearthed by Christie Valentine Powell

Keita thought that being a princess was nothing but trouble even before the power-hungry Stygians took over the Spectra kingdoms. Now she’s on the run, hunted at every turn, and able to trust only a few other royal exiles. Of course she’d like to make her life safe again, but among the enemy’s ranks is the Nome king, Jasper Smelt. A former friend, Jasper insists he wants to keep her safe, but his pitch-black dungeon and fiery threats suggest otherwise. Trapped inside his desert kingdom, Keita sees the results of Stygian cruelty. She wants to help, but how can she face Jasper, someone with abilities she couldn’t begin to fight, someone who fears everything…except her?

About the Author

Christie Valentine Powell wrote her first story in second grade, and she has been writing ever since. She published her first book in 2015. Her other hobbies include making toys, hobby farming, and eating at Asian buffets. She lives near the sunniest city in the world with her husband, four children, and many chickens.

Grab your Seventh Day Giveaway

The Spectra Unearthed is free TODAY, December 20, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4GL59X/

Hedges and Qualifiers | Liar, Liar

hedges and qualifiers quote Pamela MeyerWe complete the barrier object series with our final entry: hedges and qualifiers.

These rhetorical tidbits come in many forms. The terms “hedge” and “qualifier” are interchangeable. They denote words or phrases that damper the strength of a statement.

Hedges and Qualifiers

Grammatical hedges are literally named after a type of barrier. When we hedge, we use defensive language, something to retreat behind should anyone question our words. This is the rhetoric of the lawyer, the politician, the blogger, pretty much anyone in the service industry… and, well, everyone.

Everyone hedges to some degree or another. When you hedge too much, though, you look like a weasel.

Verbal Hedges

In this category we have “tempered” linking verbs and verb phrases. Consider the softening effect of the following:

  • seem
  • appear
  • look
  • tend to [verb]
  • try to [verb]
  • seem to have [verb]-ed

“He seemed angry” literally means there’s a possibility he wasn’t, but when you hear this spoken aloud, you assume the person in question was angry and the speaker is too polite to say it directly.

Similarly, “I tend to sleep in on weekends” comes from the mouth of someone who definitely sleeps in every weekend they possibly can but doesn’t want to sound like a lazy schmoe.

Politeness plays a huge role in hedging, as does conversational manipulation.

As a subcategory of verbal hedges, we have the conditional modals may, might, could, should, and would. If you compare them with their more solid modal counterparts, the hedge becomes glaring. For example,

  1. She might meet us at the restaurant.
  2. She must meet us at the restaurant.

Speaker #2 ain’t playing any games. Modal hedges shift from that concrete meaning to one with more wiggle room:

  • must → may or might
  • can → could
  • shall → should
  • will → would

And this simple shift makes a world of difference in responsibility to follow through.

As discussed in the article on Expanded Verb Structures, simpler structures are better. If you can eliminate a hedging modal for its concrete counterpart and still maintain the integrity of your narrative, good. But if you can eliminate the modal all together, better.

Adverbial and Adjectival Hedges

This type of hedge is a “fine tuner.” It emerges when a speaker wants to be meticulous about their language, again, to cover their backside from questions that a more direct discourse might elicit.

(Sidenote: yes, I’m using hedges to talk about hedges; like all barrier objects, they’re not always bad.)

Types

Adverbial and adjectival hedges gravitate toward certain semantic categories, including:

  • ­Smallness: a bit, a little, slight(ly), at least
  • ­Variety: kind of, sort of
  • ­Frequency: often, sometimes, rarely
  • Degree: rather, quite, somewhat
  • Untruth: not very, not actually, not really, not certain, unsure

But here’s the thing: in most cases, these “specifications” add nothing more than word count. Someone who is “a little tired” is tired. If you’re “kind of annoyed,” you’re annoyed. When the hero makes a “slight grimace,” he grimaces. We don’t have to shy away from direct speech, particularly in expositional narrative.

Bolsters

As for the “untruth” category, its opposite falls under the linguistic pattern of bolstering, which is yet another tell for deception. We’ve all encountered a boor who interrupts a conversation with, “Well, actually…” and then proceeds to give their opinion rather than fact.

It’s a long-standing joke that anytime someone begins a statement with, “Honestly,” or its equivalent, they’re about to lie. This includes longer phrases like “in truth,” “in fact,” “in all candor,” “in all honesty,” and so forth. The instant we try to convince others of how genuine we are, we plant a seed of doubt.

If you’re shoring up your work with bolsters, they will have much the same effect as hedges.

They are both barriers.

Qualifying phrases

Hedge types expand into the rhetoric layer of language with phrases that temper responsibility. For example:

  • As far as I know…
  • To my understanding…
  • From what I can see…
  • By and large…

Each of these leaves more than enough room for a speaker to weasel out of their words. Unless you absolutely need them in your narrative, they are prime for culling.

When to Hedge

Hedges and qualifiers are 100% okay in spoken dialogue, as long as they suit the character. So too are they appropriate for narrative, but only if they add the nuance intended. In many cases, there are better alternatives to a hedge.

If, for example, your hero favors your heroine with a “slight smile” and the slightness of it plays into the scene, it’s appropriate. But a dozen other descriptors could convey the same effect or a better one.

  • He favored her with a feeble smile.
  • …a wry smile
  • …an anemic smile
  • …a guarded smile.

Or, if you’re going the analogy route,

  • His smile was like a cup of weak tea.

All of these examples build on that more generic hedge of “slight.” But “slight” has its own charm, too, as long as it’s not modifying everything under the sun.

In Summary

Barrier objects create defensive writing, and defensive writing weakens your story. Our next section discusses a tool we can use to strengthen it instead.

***

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Up next: The Cooperative Principle

Previous: Expanded Verb Structures

Back to Liar, Liar Navigation Page

Sixth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Danny Boy by Melinda D. Turner

sixth day giveaway: Danny Boy by Melinda D. Turner

At times hilarious, at times heart-wrenching; full of wit and wisdom, “Danny Boy” is a must-read for anyone struggling to care for a special needs child.

This true story explores the lessons we can learn from people with disabilities and the reasons why a loving God allows some to struggle and suffer, while others enjoy healthy bodies.

Told from the perspective of the oldest sister in a family with a severely disabled child, this collection of real-life, behind-the-scenes experiences highlights the difficulties, disasters, and poignant moments that inevitably happen when caring for those with special needs. See the effect these experiences have had on each member of the family over the course of nearly 35 years of round-the-clock care for brother and son.

Prologue

“I was not quite eight years old when Danny was born. Even at that young age I can remember the exact moment I knew my life, my family’s lives, everything we had known up to that point had changed forever.

It was evening in early summer. I walked to my parents’ bedroom at the end of the upstairs hallway wearing a soft summer nightgown and lurked silently, just inside the doorway. Mom and Dad stood side-by-side, arms around each other with their backs to me, looking down on their newborn son as he lay under the bilirubin lights in his crib. I don’t remember any words being spoken—only that I think mom was crying. Or maybe the baby was. What I do remember as the scene was forever stamped on my consciousness is that I knew something was wrong. Maybe not even wrong. Just different. This baby was different. And somehow, I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. And it never has been.”

Grab your Sixth Day Giveaway

Danny Boy is free on Amazon TODAY, December 19th TOMORROW, December 20th:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077JJMK6Y/

Scheduling mishaps happen, my people. Mark your calendars to grab this one tomorrow, along with the Day 7 title.

Fifth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

In Her Dreams by Joanna Reeder

fifth day giveaway: In Her Dreams by Joanna Reeder

So, I have this curse… I experience the memories of dead people while I sleep.

One second I’m dreading that midterm in the morning, and the next I’m attending a ball that could be the movie set of an Austen or Bronte novel.

Pretty cool right?

Did you catch that I call it a curse?

See, not everyone lives a life full of joy, true love, and happy endings. Sure, I get to re-live the good memories. But I also get to experience pain, heartbreaks, and sometimes even death.

For a long time, I had zero friends so when I dreamed of Victorian-era Lucy (who just got engaged… eek!) I had an escape. And then Lucy met her future cousin-in-law, Andrew. **swoon**

My life felt less… tragic when the Lucy dreams started. Oh! And I met this new boy, Duncan and finally had a friend. (He’s easy on the eyes too…**sigh**)

But one night I changed the outcome of one of my dreams by accident and shifted my reality in a major way, so now I have to make some important decisions about choices and control. And what I believe is right.

About the Author

Joanna Reeder creates scintillating but clean YA novels while chasing 3 littles and a hubby. “A Dr. Pepper a day keeps insanity away!” Joanna grew up and lives in Northern Utah. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah.

In Her Dreams is the first in the In Her Dreams trilogy.  Trapped In Her Dreams (Book 2) and Purpose In Her Dreams (Book 3) are FREE on Amazon through Kindle Unlimited.

Joanna is currently working with three other authors on a collaboration universe about a school for shifters. The first in the universe, Shifted, (Book 1 in the Siren Prophesy) released January 8, 2019.

Grab your Fifth Day Giveaway

In Her Dreams is free on Amazon TODAY ONLY, December 18:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079ZMV7XK/

Fourth Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Master of Emotion by D. Ogden Huff

fourth day Master of Emotion by D. Ogden Huff

When a reclusive teen with the enhanced ability to read others’ emotions finds more teens with similar sensory powers, he must confront his fears before a budding romance and his twin brother’s life fall into the hands of the devious doctor who created them all.

Beau could change if he wanted. But he won’t do it. Now his extroverted brother expects him to embrace his abnormality, too? His twin brother calls it his “ability”–Beau’s gift for experiencing someone else’s emotions with just a touch. But when he’s surrounded by an onslaught of overactive teenage emotion and a brother who eagerly touches everyone to read their thoughts, his ability seems like a curse. The safest way out is to put up a wall and hide behind it.

What is it about a girl and danger that makes a seventeen-year-old guy leap forward when he ought to step back? Of course, Beau will be the first to admit the girl is totally worth the trauma. And it’s kinda amazing finding five more sensory enhanced teenagers, just like him, though they seriously invade his personal space. Then just when he thought life had finally cut him a break, they end up as lab rats to the psycho doctor who killed their mothers and made them orphans. What Beau didn’t see coming was having the most painful threat come from one of their own. What’s a guy have to do to survive it all?

MASTER OF EMOTION is Book 1 of the completed TOO SENSITIVE four-book series, available on Amazon.

About the Author

Fourth day author D. Ogden HuffD. Ogden Huff is a sun addict who moved to Arizona at the age of two. She’s lived there ever since, except for a two year stint in Utah where she discovered that she gets cold just looking at pictures of snow. Thankfully, she lives in sunny Phoenix with the man of her dreams and a house full of kids and grandkids. They are the funniest people she knows, and choking at the dinner table is a daily hazard of their contagious laughter. Find out more at www.dogdenhuff.com.

Grab your Fourth Day Giveaway

Master of Emotion is free on Amazon TODAY ONLY, December 17:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JNAX2M/

Third Day | 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Quick and Clever Kids’ Crafts by Deb Graham

third day Deb Graham Kids Crafts

A go-to for any parent, teacher, scout leader, or friend of children. Loaded with easy crafts a child can do with little or no assistance, unleashing creativity with materials you probably already have on hand.  Bonus: a whole section on swaps,  little pieces of artwork on a safety pin! Quick and Clever Kids’ Crafts is just what you need for long wintery days.

About the Author

Deb Graham is an author of twenty books, with a background in scouting and stand-up comedy. Be sure to check out the other books in the Busy Kids, Happy Kids series.

Grab your Third Day Giveaway

Quick and Clever Kids’ Crafts is available for free on Amazon TODAY ONLY, December 16:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DBMR1IS

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