Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Fascinating Look at How Dictionaries are Made



Like most people, I have never given the dictionary much thought. It’s a useful tool that I appreciate having, but I never considered that there are people whose job it is to write all those definitions. In her new book, Word by Word, Kory Stamper, lexicographer at Merriam-Webster (located in my hometown of Springfield, MA), takes you behind the scenes of what actually goes into creating a dictionary. 

She states, the dictionary “is a human document, constantly being compiled, proofread, and updated by actual, living awkward people. In that unassuming brick building in Springfield, there are a couple dozen people who spend their workweek doing nothing but making dictionaries – sifting the language, categorizing it, describing it, alphabetizing it.”

Word by Word is awesome for anyone who loves the English language. Stamper’s writing style is incredibly engaging with a healthy dose of humor. This book was both fascinating and laugh-out-loud funny.  There is a healthy amount of swearing in this book. After all, all those expletives count as words as well. But even with that caveat, I am heartily recommending Word by Word. I’ve never read anything like it before and it opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation for both dictionaries and the English language. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Your Word is My Delight: A Catholic Writer's Retreat

Do you need time away to finish or start a manuscript? Work on that proposal? Organize your writing project? Finish work to meet your editor’s deadline?
On October 8-12, 2017 the Catholic Writers Guild, for the fourth time, is offering a writers retreat near Lansing, Michigan.
St. Francis Retreat and Conference Center, 703 E. Main Street, DeWitt, MI, is situated on a 93 acre site of woodlands, meadows, and prayer gardens.
$550 includes a private room with a bath, three meals a day (and all the coffee you can drink!), internet access, breakout spaces, resource library, three daily presenters, critique sessions, Mass and reconciliation.  
The power of the Catholic Writers Guild is why we can keep the cost so low! This retreat, offered every other year, is popular because it is a true writers retreat offering you abundant time to work at writing, and time to critique with other Catholic writers.
You can register on line at http://tinyurl.com/cwgretreat2017 , or if you have questions email the coordinator, Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB at retreat@catholicwritersguild.com .
Handicap accessible and dietary needs accommodated.
If you fly into Lansing Capital Region International Airport, a shuttle to the retreat house—only 7 minutes away—is provided.
Retreat is limited so register soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Register for Catholic Writer's Online Conference by Feb. 10th

The Catholic Writers’ Guild will hold its annual online conference for writers Feb 17-19, 2017.  This faith-focused authors conference offers presentations covering all aspects of writing from the faith aspects of your calling as a writer to publishing and marketing your books.  There will also be online pitch sessions with noted Catholic publishers and secular publishers.


The conference will be held using webinar software, making the experience more personal and immediate.

"Last year, we had amazing success with presentations in webinar format. It took the learning to a new level," said organizer Karina Fabian. Fabian said the workshops offer terrific opportunities to ask in-depth questions and get feedback from knowledgeable instructors.   
This year’s sessions include a wide range of talents, including speakers like Lisa Mladinich, host of the TV talk show WOMAN; Lisa Hendey, author and founder of CatholicMom.com, horror author Karen Ullo, and attorney Antony Kolenc. In addition, there are practical workshops on indie publishing, Goodreads, characterization and more.
Pitch sessions give authors with finished books a chance to personally interest a publisher.  Pitch sessions include well known Catholic publishers like Our Sunday Visitor and Ave Maria, and secular presses like Liberty Island and Vinspire.
"Every year, we hear back from an author who finished a book, started a project, or got a publishing contract thanks to the Catholic Writers’ Conference Online.  Plus people make contacts and good friends.  It’s a terrific opportunity, especially for those who can’t afford to attend a live conference,” Fabian said.
This year’s conference is $40; $30 for members of the Catholic Writers’ Guild. To register or for more information, go to https://catholicwritersguild.org/online-conference.