Canadiana in writing: a few fun facts about our Thanksgiving

At this time of year we Canucks celebrate a successful harvest and show our gratitude by gorging ourselves on a significant proportion of the produce we slaved all year to grow and store.

Our tasty pumpkin pie, complete with maple leaf decorations to establish its Canadian-ness. Those cranberries are a good idea, too. Yum.

Unlike the Americans we don’t wait until ten minutes before Christmas / Hanukkah / other winter celebrations to get this done when anywhere North American folks other than in southern states are beginning to need to put on their woolly knickers and cosy pyjamas (a.k.a. ‘pajamas‘ in North America).

We snotty Canucks prefer to do it at a time when the seasons are changing inspiringly, leaves on our trees are turning vivid gold, orange, bronze and other flaming colours, and the air has changed from the sultry, humid warmth of summer to the crisp invigoration of ‘the fall’ before it starts to freeze our private parts and make us scrape snow and ice off our cars in the mornings, as shown below. [Read more…]

A nasty little writing quiz about apostrophes

By popular demand, another sneaky, nasty grammar quiz. The last one got hundreds of comments and likes and I’m told customers and staff in a certain UK fashion house nearly came to blows arguing over it.apostrophe quizThis time we’re looking for apostrophes … nasty little b*ggers they are, too…

In which of following sentences is there one or more (or no) apostrophe used wrongly?

No cheating now! Answers are below… [Read more…]

An English writing grammar fiend walks into a bar…

You may think you’ve heard all the jokes about ‘A xxxx walks into a bar,’ but I guarantee the majority of you won’t have heard all of the following. English language lovers will adore them and even grammar fiends and fascists might crack a smile.

horse in bar

A horse walks into a bar. “Why the long face?” asks the barman. “I’m a horse.”

I have tried to find the original author but it seems these have been circulating on the internet for some time so have become embedded in the ‘anonymous’ category as far as I know.

If any of you know otherwise, please let me know on suze@suzanstmaur.com and of course I will accredit the right people.

In the meantime I thank my good friend and fellow business networker Anne Bryant for flagging this up to me on my Facebook page

The ultimate writing about ‘walking into a bar’ – bar none

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite. [Read more…]

How to earn some extra money as a voice-over artiste

Have people told you that you have a nice voice? That you’re a good speaker in meetings, presentations, etc.?

If your answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘sort of’ and you could do with a few extra pennies, how about doing some voice-over (VO) work, reading audiobooks and other content for recording? (I’ve learned a lot about VO narration work as I wrote scripts for video and live marketing  events for many years. In fact I’ve even done some VO work myself…) 

recording a voice over

Setting yourself up as a VO artiste can be inexpensive and lead to some very useful extra income

True, there is a fashion today for authors to voice their own books for the audiobooks versions and to voice their own podcasts, but not everyone has the voice to match the writing talent or the time to do it well.

So voice over artistes are brought in by recording facilities to do this, and here in the south of England can earn anything up to £200 per hour. An average short paperback book will take at least five hours to record, so do the math.

VO reading and recording is not a walk in the park, but…

[Read more…]

Tricky, tricky spelling quiz: can you crack it?

I can’t afford to offer a trip for two to Las Vegas as a prize, but this quiz could keep you busy during quiet moments in the next few days. Answers at the bottom. (No cheating – look later!)

spelling mistakes

What do you feel are the most common wrongly spelled words in English?

And what really is infuriating is the way that simple spelling mistakes tend to creep in only because our own ‘word blindness’ – especially when we are writing extensively for business or other occupations – is largely to blame for our errors.

(That, and the fact that the English language has fewer rules to help us than a dog has when choosing which tree to pee on.)

Never mind: let’s have a laugh with the following:

Find the spelling mistake (or two, or none!) in the following:

[Read more…]

How to make a great audio book without taking out a mortgage

Until recently the cost of recording an audiobook from your print/eBook tended to be prohibitive.

Recording audiobooks

State-of-the-art Old School Studios, Milton Keynes. Photo credit T Beezley.

Times have changed now, though. And being a tricky old goat I have found out some ways of making high-quality audiobooks that bring the whole project in at an affordable price.

How audiobooks are storming through to best-seller status

I have it on very good authority (yes, no sh*t) that … after Amazon has entered the audiobook market with its cohort Audible, it has found that audiobooks are on the way up, up, up. Audible’s competitors offering a similar service are building quickly.

Why, isn’t rocket science. [Read more…]

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