Grammar Be Damned…Sometimes

I have always been rather obsessive about spelling, and grammar to a far less degree.

I was so turned off by diagramming sentences in high school, so alienated by all of these technical terms they wanted me to learn…gerund (sounded like a rare species of squirrel), conjunctive phrase (conjunctivitis, anyone?), run-on sentences (run, sentences, RUN!)…I simply could not bring myself to give a damn.

As a writer, I know how important it is to have both excellent spelling AND grammar, which has left me in a bit of a conundrum. I even purchased the complete high school series of Warriner’s English Composition to try to compensate. I made it in a couple of pages and had that instant visceral reaction I had in high school – “Screw this!”

The four books sit on a shelf directly to my right, along with all of my other writing-esque books. In total, I have three of my smallish shelves in my library filled with books on writing, or on the business of writing.

I tried mucking my way through Eats, Shoots and Leaves and couldn’t even manage that.

I guess you could say I’m grammar-conflicted.

However, it was quite nice to see the following response from one of my former high school teachers as I relayed an adventure I had yesterday.

I wrote on Facebook…

Such a colorful area I live in. A couple of hours ago I was heading out to go buy an Eastlake chair in Overland Park. I didn’t get far, just two blocks away, as I was about to turn right onto 12th and head towards 70, I saw a woman laying in the middle of the street.

So I put my blinkers on, got out, and another guy stopped too. Together we helped her up and got her to the side of the road. I was back in my car and getting ready to get back on my way when she came to my side of the car and asked for a ride.

What was I going to do? I’d just picked the lady up out of the street, after all. So I gave her a ride to 17th and Hardesty. She told me her life story along the way, told me she was very blessed, and said thank you about a dozen times. As she got out, I squeezed her hand and told her to take care, and to avoid laying down in streets for a while.

Afterwards I suspected I had used the wrong form of lay and asked in a comment after the post what the correct form was. My former high school teacher wrote this…

She was lying in the street, but it doesn’t matter that you’re not sure of the correct form, what matters is that you helped her.

Thank you Rachel.

I will continue to hone those little grammar rules so that, hopefully, my books are as free of them as possible so that my readers can instead focus on the story in front of them. I’ll do that and keep in mind that, whether they are or not is less important than the fact that we all need a little help sometimes. Whether we are lying in the street or just asking for a small favor like a ride a few blocks away!

War’s End Book 2 – Delayed One More Week

WarsEnd Book2

Okay, well, it looks like Book 2 won’t be live today or tomorrow or for at least one week.

I made small formatting changes as well as altered the background cover of the book from red to purple and this has necessitated the need to review them in proof form one more time.

So, hang in there folks, because Book 2 will be ready and available by October 1st at the latest.

Meanwhile, the sale price of the ebook for just 99 cents remains in effect. Click here to order.

I’m not sure this is a permanent thing, but it will be that price for at least the next few weeks!

I’m excited about having my 4th book in print. As with the others, there will be a trade paperback version ($9.50 – sorry, I tried to get a lower price!) and also a Kindle version ($3.99).

I will be putting up four signed copies of the proof book here soon for those interested in having actual paperbacks in their hands. I’m selling these at cost, so $4.00 plus $2.50 shipping (or if you know me or are local we can make arrangements to meet somewhere).

If you haven’t read Book 1 – I highly recommend it – and yes that is because I wrote it! If you do read it, or have read it, please, please, PLEASE post a review on Every review helps!

If you are thinking of self-publishing feel free to ask me questions below. I’m happy to answer them!





Check out my other writing at:
The Deadly Nightshade:
The Homeschool Advocate:
My writer website:

My published books can be found at: (author: Christine Shuck)


Find me on Twitter at: @cshuck1970

Baby Steps…and An Accountability Group

So after my big decision to jump back into trying to get published mainstream, I wavered a bit, and did a little research, and wavered some more. I dug in my heels, looked around for anything to distract me, and then sent an email to a woman who, along with my friend Felicia, may very well help change my life.

Kerrie writes for parenting magazines, and is full of energy and excitement. I contacted her when we were introduced through a mutual homeschooling friend, and bought her ebook,

Each month Kerrie publishes her income for the month. And I’ve watched it go up steadily month after month.

I realized that I’m not an article person – I’m a book person. It is what I enjoy, it is what I love. But Kerrie was the first person I thought of when faced with the “oh my god, I am going to jump back into this and I really, really need someone to proofread/edit my query letter!”

She proofread my query letter and came by for a visit/play date last Wednesday. In the middle of my showing her some of the projects I have been working on (to some extent or another) I said, “We need to start an accountability group and keep each other motivated!”

And this morning, an email appeared in my inbox, asking for the status of my myriad projects and suggesting that we start that accountability group I mentioned. My mind instantly flashed on the synopsis for War’s End that I really needed to write. The first agent I had targeted to send a query letter to requested a query letter, a one page synopsis, and the first 50 pages of the manuscript be sent via email.

Like the query letter, I viewed the project of writing a synopsis with dread. Sum up in one page what it had taken me nearly 105,000 words to describe? How could I possibly do that?!

My friend Felicia’s face flashed in front of me with THE LOOK. The one that once again said, “Suck it up, buttercup. You can do this.”

And with a half hour free this afternoon, I decided to “start” on the synopsis. Less than 45 minutes later, much to my surprise, I was looking at a decent first draft.

My life is filled with these little surprises. They lurk around every corner. They trip me up, shake my comfortable little tree, and remind me that I can do more than even I believe I am capable of. That the little script I’ve been running off of for four decades is flawed, short-sighted, and just plain inaccurate. I’ve lived on this earth for 43 years, and I feel as if my life has just begun. Each day brings a new revelation, a new skill, and a myriad of delights.

I turned in the synopsis to Kerrie for review/editing and sent her a quick payment via Paypal. I’m sure there will be changes, fixes to be done, but then I hope to have my first agent submission out of the way and working on rest of the first ten.

After that, I’m thinking that I really, REALLY need to get The War on Drugs out into the world for consideration. Marijuana reform is happening, all around us, and I think my book could help change take hold.

And then there’s Book 2 of War’s End to finish writing…

And Quit Your Job, Change Your Life

And Gliese 581

And The Chronicles of Liv Rowan

The clock is ticking…

My Article on

Well, cool beans. I checked in on SurvivalBlog and discovered that an article I had submitted for an ongoing non-fiction writing contest has been posted. So I’m officially in the running for Round 39 prizes. It got me all excited. I’ve got at least two other pieces I want to write up and submit. He apparently runs these contests back to back and they have plenty of prizes.

More than anything, though, is the hope of exposure to the right people. Who will read the article? Who will link back to my website? Will they become a follower of either of my two main blogs? Will they buy my books? The more exposure I have, the more chances I have of success.

And having my article posted on the site is nothing to sneeze at when you think of the numbers of people who visit – 1.3 million of them in December alone.

Rock on…I’m just hoping for, say, 1% of those folks to head over in my direction…