Words that every High School Student should know


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Words are power! These are words that the American Heritage Dictionary feel every student should know.

American Heritage Dictionary have created a list of 100 words every High school student should know. They make it clear that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. I guess that means you should know more than just these hundred. But if you can use these words correctly, “you are more likely to have a superior command of the language and your SAT score should be higher.”

Check them out.

Can you use each word in a sentence?
abjure     abrogate        abstemious      acumen   antebellum     auspicious

belie        bellicose         bowdlerize     chicanery    chromosome    churlish
circumlocution     circumnavigate     deciduous    deleterious     diffident
enervate     enfranchise     epiphany     equinox     euro      evanescent
expurgate    facetious       fatuous       feckless     fiduciary     filibuster
gamete        gauche        gerrymander   hegemony     hemoglobin

homogeneous    hubris    hypotenuse    impeach     incognito   incontrovertible

inculcate     infrastructure     interpolate     irony     jejune       kinetic   kowtow

laissez faire     lexicon     loquacious   lugubrious   metamorphosis mitosis

moiety     nanotechnology    nihilism   nomenclature   nonsectarian  notarize
obsequious   oligarchy   omnipotent    orthography   oxidize    parabola
paradigm    parameter    pecuniary   photosynthesis   plagiarize   plasma

polymer     precipitous     quasar      quotidian     recapitulate     reciprocal
reparation    respiration    sanguine    soliloquy     subjugate     suffragist
supercilious    tautology    taxonomy   tectonic    tempestuous
thermodynamics     totalitarian    unctuous    usurp   vacuous    vehement
vortex     winnow     wrought      xenophobe    yeoman    ziggurat      zeal

I will admit that I only knew and could use 75% of the words

A. Dragonblood



It’s a Learning Curve


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Five Common Authors’ mistakes
I can guarantee you that I have make all these and then some.
1: Inexperienced authors write a book that is not publisher-friendly.In other words, they write the book to suit their own emotional or altruistic needs without considering its commercial value. Once the book is completed, they try to find a publisher. What’s wrong with this approach? Most manuscripts that are written without concern for the target audience are not marketable, thus would not be profitable. A publisher may reject a manuscript featuring your grandfather’s World War II experiences, but would welcome a book focusing on blacks in the armed forces during that time period. Your book on selling buttons through eBay may not appeal to a publisher, yet the public might be screaming for one featuring the most unique items ever sold online.

If you had written a complete book proposal first, your project would probably be more
appropriately targeted. And if you’d submitted a query letter before writing your book, the publisher could have more appropriately directed you-greatly increasing your chances of becoming a published author.
2: Newbie authors frequently send their manuscripts to the wrong publishers. Much like doctors these days, some publishers specialize. More and more publishers accept either fiction or nonfiction. Some specialize in children’s stories or textbooks while others focus their energies (and their finances) on true crime, poetry, romance, cookbooks, how-to, self-help, or business books. There’s no such thing as one publisher fits all. You wouldn’t send your collection of poetry to DAW Books, but the editors at Red Hen Press might be delighted to receive it. These editors would reject your fantasy or science fiction manuscript on the spot, but those at DAW Books might welcome it. The publisher at ‘The Last Work’ Press doesn’t want to see books in any of these genres, but send them a good children’s or young adult book with a Catholic theme and you might score with them.
3: Eager authors often set their hearts on being accepted by a mega-publisher. In so doing, they miss out on more realistic publishing opportunities. I’m not trying to discourage you from starting at the top. I have no quarrel with you giving the big guys a whirl. But please develop a backup plan. Vow that if Random House and Scholastic turn you down, you will lower your sights to, perhaps, a more realistic level and opt for publication with one of the many smaller publishing houses. Have you heard of YOLO Books? They publish forty to sixty fiction and nonfiction titles per year and offer fifteen to forty percent royalties. Reads produces as many as thirty-five titles each year in many genres and categories and eighty percent of them are from first-time authors.
4: The most common mistake authors make when contacting publishers is to ignore their submission guidelines. In fact, many inexperienced authors don’t even study them. While there are basic standards for contacting publishers, there are also differences in submission requirements between publishing houses. Most publishers want to see a query letter first. If they are interested in your concept and impressed by your credentials, they will generally request your book proposal. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and this is why it’s crucial to locate and study the guidelines for each publisher before approaching him or her. (See details for locating submission guidelines below.)
5: Too many hopeful authors neglect to make a clear, concise, and clean presentation. Some inexperienced authors believe that a publisher can see through a poorly written query letter to the magnificence of his story. Others are so eager to get their works into the hands of a publisher that they simply don’t finish dotting all of their i’s and crossing all of their t’s. I’m here to tell you that your chances of winning a contract with any publisher are extremely slim when you submit an error-riddled, disorganized, rambling query letter, book proposal, or manuscript. In order to be successful in this business, you have to stop looking at your project from an emotional place and start thinking like a professional. Don’t worry; you can adopt a business persona without losing your creative edge. In fact, if you want to be published, it’s necessary to shift from artist to businessperson on demand. Publishers are bombarded with hundreds of query letters and book proposals each month, Scholastic receives thousands of queries each year and publishes only seventy to seventy-five titles. Strider Nolan receives 1,000 to 2,000 queries per year and publishes five to ten titles.The news isn’t all bad, however. Check out some of the smaller publishing companies. Barricade Books receives just 200 queries per year, and they publish twelve titles. Puritan Press receives only twenty-five queries in a year, and they publish five titles. Whether you decide to approach a mega-publishing house or a smaller one, vow to give nothing less than your most polished presentation. Think about it: What is the point of leading with your second or third best shot when there may be 300 other authors soliciting this publisher with equally good ideas and highly polished presentations? A. Dragonblood>

The meaning of Numbers


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Meaning of Numbers

I was recently asked if I believe there is meaning in numbers. Interesting question for a writer I thought, however my answer once simply, yes. There was no further discussion on the question by the inquisitive young lady so I left it on the table for the rest of the panel and moved on to other topics of discussion. After the panel, the young woman approached me and informed me that I must be the first born child in my family. Curious to how she came to this conclusion I had to ask why she thought this. She explained that I was extremely charismatic and powerful. I appreciated her comment, further explaining that I was the first born in the family making me a number one and I was intrigued by her perception.

This past weekend after enduring many facebook acquaintances 40 days of Lent posts, I thought there must be something to the number 40 as well.  I spent part of the day yesterday and today researching/ refreshing my knowledge of numbers and there meaning in our world. It has been a refreshing break and a much appreciated journey this young woman sent me on. The following is a brief summary about numbers that have formulated over centuries, nations and religions.

One- meaning the beginning and therefore associated with creativity, power, initiative and unity. One is a primary number from which all other numbers arise. People with the ruling number one usually independent, and single minded but when working or in relationships with other Ones’ the two become one. The longest word in the English language containing only one vowel is ‘Strength’

Two– represents duality in all forms- duplication, reflection, antagonism, receptivity. It is day/ night, male/female,life/death, good/evil. Taoism is represnted by two forces the female Yin and the male Yang. Do to it’s nature, duality is not resolved. the number two represents creativity and fulfillment. In some Christian cultures two is considered unlucky because, in the bible the second day is the only day that the saying “and God saw it was good is left out and two is the number of Eve. Also the shortest verse int eh bible is only two words “Jesus wept.”

Three– This number is associated with growth, expansion, ambition and development. Mother and father create child, through their unity two begets three. The Holy Spirit- Father ,Son and holy Ghost, three fold of nature we all share-body, mind and spirit. Three is the number of time. It is the first number that creates a geometric form (Triangle). Three represents beginning, middle and end of life or living. Vikings believed that the locking of three triangles together called a Valknut and placing it on their dead would summon Odin to protect them on their journey through the after world. The goddess is represented by the triple moon, as maiden, mother and crone.

Four– Is symbolized by the cube or square, representing order, logic, classification and measurement. Four is also the number associated with hard work and practicality. In Kabbalists explain that four is the number of memory. There are four cardinal points- North-South-East-West, four seasons, four phases of the moon, four winds and four elements ( earth-air-fire-water). In India there are four Castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shdras).

Five– Over the years five has been associated with change and uncertainty, probably because it has may forces operating at once with no union. The five pointed star is representative of the human body with the head, arms and legs.When the five pointed star points up it is positive and when turned upside down it is negative.

Six– This was the favored number of most through out time. It represents balance, harmony, symmetry, equilibrium, beauty, loyalty and love. It has been associated with motherhood and marriage through many beliefs. In Jewish traditions the Seal of Solomon is the six pointed star, consisting of two intersecting triangles, one triangle represents spirit and the other material form and earth, the ideal of heaven and earth.

Seven– Perfection is the best way to explain the number seven. It also represents security, completeness, safety, victory and rest. There are seven notes on the musical scale, seven colors in the rainbow and traditional astrology had seven planets. Seven circles in the ‘seed of life’. Seven is also the mystical number of wisdom. Libra is the seventh astrological sign representing balance. Opposite sides of the dice always equal seven, and superstition always brings seven years bad luck. There are also seven deadly sins.

Eight– Is associated with justice, health, balance progress and independent thought. In China the number 8 is the luckiest of numbers. There are eight Sabbats on the Wicca wheel. Strength of Character is also represented by the number Eight. There are eight planets in the solar system and it takes eight minutes for light to reach earth.

Nine– Represents the culmination of all the numbers which preceded it, ten which follows nine consists of 1+0, in numerological equals one. Nine represents completion, attainment, and fulfillment. Nine is the number of the creator (Brahma) in Hinduism. Nine is also a number of magic because all digits of numerology are 1-9. There are 9 fruits of the spirit that Paul wrote in his letters to the Galatians- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Ten– Represents the end of the cycle and returns to the beginning (1+0=1). It is the number that represents perfection through completion. The tetraktys which is a perfect triangle and is used in bowling and billiards is made up of 1+2+3+4=10.

Eleven– Is the number that represents the Spiritual Messenger. It is a master number which consists of double digits numbers from the same root number. It is considered the number of internal conflict and rebellion, representing unbalance and disorder. Th first world war ended at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day in the eleventh month. In the tarot the eleven card is Strength and Justice, justice symbolizing balance between spiritual and material world.

Twelve– Is considered the unit of cosmic order, it is the number of space and time. There are twelve months in a year and a twelve year cycle in the Asia Zodiac. The European Union flag has twelve stars representing the result of 4X3, 4 elements- 4 corners of the earth- 4 cardinal points multiplied by three the sacred number of God= 12 a number of perfection.

Thirteen– Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of thirteen. It is said you should never seat thirteen at a dining table, this maybe because of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus. The tarot 13th card symbolizes death and transformation. The thirteenth amendment forbids slavery in the USA. The one dollar bill has 13 bars on the shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, 13 arrows, 13 stars, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM (out of many, one”) 13 leters in ANNUIT COEPTIS (God has favored our undertaking)

Forty– The number forty in most cases means more than usual. It is used over 98 times in the bible to represent a lot of suffering, a long time or an abundance of something. Islam talks of forty virgins and 40 day fast that Buddha and Jesus made to the desert before facing evil. Japanese call the 40th birthday ‘shoro’ beginning of old age Americans call it over the hill.

I admit there is more to the symbolism in numbers and how they relate and create pleasure and pain in our lives whether we are conscious of them or not. I plan on being more aware of their influences on my life in the coming years.

A. Dragonblood


Boys VS Men


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“Boys compete with one another, Men empower one another.”
I believe that we cannot become world citizens if we continue to deal with life’s challenges the same way we did as children. Unfortunately, I feel there are too many people who are “40, 50, 60’s going on 16,” so to speak. Many people at age 40-60, or even 80 are still dealing with people and issues such as conflict and relationships using the same disempowering school yard strategies most of us learned before the age of 16: Name calling, physical or emotional intimidation, violence, blame and shame to name just a few. Why do men especially, begin to regress after they turn 30 years old? I understand there are exceptions to this but very few. We watch politicians bicker in congress, Corporations destroy and devalue their competition if they can’t work together, athletes and spectators brawl with one another like they were in a school yard and spiritual leaders explaining their poor decisions away as if someone had caught them jay walking. All these people at some point had to be empowered by another and therefore empowered others. Many of us have not added new, possibly more effective and constructive strategies to deal with issues. We are to focused on success, money and appearances that we employ others to make up for our short comings or conflict. We are taught that conflict and completion are bad things when actually they are what makes use stronger. When dealt with through democracy and bartering strategically and with conviction we can empower each other. We program computers with artificial intelligence to design algorithms to empower the next generation, yet we can’t program that in ourselves. Until we lose our jealous childish regression and aggression as men we will destroy ourselves and blame others for our own failures and short comings which; the current state of the world reflects today. Hopefully we will learn to repair this rhythm in our code as Homo-sapiens before computers and algorithms decide for us that we are really no different than pack animals.

A. Dragonblood

Thank you 2013

Thank you 2013
I hope everyone had a great 2013! It has been an amazing year of ups and downs for me, however I am pleased over all. I want to first wish everyone the best of New Year, yes even my littlest ONES know how to have a good time on New Years. I would also want to thank everyone that follows me on this journey as a writer. A few years ago I didn’t fancy being a featured author or even see it in my future, being content writing behind the scenes and seeing my words come alive was enough for me but that has all changed. I enjoy visiting schools, book signings, festivals and panels (might even like social media a tab more) where I have an opportunity to share my story/stories/ experience with young and older readers hoping to write a place for some to explore and others to create. None of this dream that I am living would have been possible if it weren’t for your support in promoting A. Dragonblood and Children of The Others Collection. It is most definitely amazing to have such an amazing group of people supporting me. I want to also thank all the ONES that shared their stories with me to read over the year, I can see some amazing authors in the future. Thank you to everyone that purchased my books this year and yes, Book 5 will be released in Spring 2014, I will be changing the publishing house that I use which will control the cost better. Thank you to everyone that sent me cards and gifts through the holidays, I received some truly personal items that I will treasure through the years. I appreciate the authors that have shared their critiques with me, I know they will make me a stronger writer. Last but not least I can’t forget my family for their support and understanding, with the increased traveling this year there were days I didn’t know if I was coming or going but they kept me on schedule and I only missed to soccer games all season. I love them very much and definitely could not or would not do this with out them.
2014 is already booking up fast between COTO and BRP so I know that it is going to be a wild one, I will however always be available for Q&A from you. I will also try to keep this page updated daily with anything that is A. Dragonblood/ writing, reading interesting. Cheers y’all,

How Writing works in my World


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How a Writer works.

I am constantly asked by friends’ and students which I like better; Writing Novels or Screenwriting. The answer is never as simply as one or the other. You see, when you’re a screenwriter working on a studio project or really any project where a producer or studio executives are involved, there are going to be changes, not just a few editor changes but dozens or more changes to your work.
I’ve made so many changes before to screenplays that in the end it seemed like an entirely different idea from where we started or it has gone full circle and we are back where we started. Screenwriting is collaborative, as long as you are prepared for as many changes as it takes to get it to screen, it can be an amazing experience. It goes a little something like this – say you get a job writing a script for Studio whoever, we start with an outline for what you’re going to write. The producer will then give several rounds of notes based on what they think the executives wants. You change the outline appropriately. The producer then turns it into the exec who invariably wants something different, sometimes slightly, other times entirely. You then go through more rounds of notes and changes with both the producer and the exec. This is done as many times as it takes to make the exec and the producer both happy. This, by nature, involves many compromises.
Having two (exec and producer) smart, confident people who only vaguely know each other to agree on something as complex as a script – it’s much, much tougher. You’re going to be meeting somewhere in the middle. It won’t be exactly what you have in mind, nor will it be exactly what the exec or the producer each had in mind.
After all this, you go off and write the script.  Which you then turn into the producers and we go through the same notes/rewriting process you outlined above all over again, this time however, the amount of notes grows exponentially. The producer and exec now have specifics to give notes on. Things they can really chew on and get into, from subplots, to turning points – all the way down to specific lines of dialogue. You will spend the next few months altering, massaging and sometimes changing large and small chunks of the story.
How many rounds of this you go through, depends on the exec, the producer and how willing your agent is to go to bat for you, Scripts are art, not science they are never finished or ever perfect. So you could theoretically be working on it for the rest of time. I’ve had as little as two rounds of notes and I’ve had as many as twenty two ( yes you will count).  And the rounds have almost always end with one party saying ”
Alright people, enough is enough, or some politically acceptable version of that.”

Now, to my novel writer friends, this all sounds like a fate worse than death.  They can’t imagine making this many – what they refer to as “sacrifices.”  I prefer “compromises” that is just the way it is?  To their point, it’s not always easy, if I’m being completely honest. It’s all about the people you are working with, If they are bad at their jobs, the process can be interminable in turn if they are great at it, it can be an enormous boost. The good ones have the ability to not only find problems, but help fix them as well; they can and do make your script better.

Most screenwriters don’t write novels let alone authors who enjoy screenwriting. Most screenwriters I know never do. I’m not sure why, except the money that is. The screenwriting biz is hard, it’s a monetary rollercoaster. To take time off, to put a giant hole in your budget, is stressful.  But unfortunately, screenwriters/authors such as me are no stranger to anxiety and stress. I’d say out of the ten professional writers I know, eight of them are on some sort of med’s legal or not.

Screenwriting is a tough, gut wrenching, chaotic and incredibly unstable profession. When you have a family, it’s tough. As an author of your own book you have many of the same challenges, hoping that people will buy the book (and of course love it). It’s a risk and a gamble. If you know a writer you already know that they are dreamers, it is amazing how dreamers seem to make things happen and create the change that they did to survive.
Writing books is one of the best experiences of my life. There is nobody trying to reshape my story, no compromises to be made. I can tell a story exactly the way I wanted to tell it. It is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. You have full control of the books success through research, writing, editing, cover art, publishing, social media and distribution. This is a lot to manage as a writer, however it is all you and your can work at your pace and can discuss changes with yourself rather than fifty others. Monetarily it is not going to put food on the table unless you can have your agent sell it to a big publishing house for a massive amount of money, however to see your work on the shelf of a bookseller is food enough some days but remember once an agents is involved you will have to make a few sacrifices.

If I had to pick either screenwriting or writing novels, it would be extremely difficult. I am however extremely passionate about writing books and sharing this experience with others. There is so much in my imagination that I can write about but can’t affordably be produced for screen. Maybe someday one of my novels will be adapted into a screenplay, as have several of the books that I have worked on with others as a ghostwriter. That maybe the creme de la creme of both worlds.

A. Dragonblood

Yulemas 2013


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10 years ago I referred to Yule and Christmas as ‘Yulemas’ to my family and it stuck; like a candy cane on tinsel.

We hear all kinds of cool stuff about candy canes, Santa Claus, reindeer and other traditions. But did you know that many Christmas customs trace their roots back to Pagan origins? Here are a few little-known bits of information about the Yulemas season.


The tradition of Christmas caroling actually began as the tradition of wassailing. In centuries past, wassailers went door to door, singing and drinking to the health of their neighbors. The concept actually harkens back to pre-Christian fertility rites –only in those ceremonies, villagers traveled through their fields and orchards in the middle of winter, singing and shouting to drive away any spirits that might inhibit the growth of future crops. Caroling wasn’t actually done in churches until St. Francis thought it would be a nice addition to services, in the 13th century.

The Yule Log
Nowadays, when we hear about the Yule log, most people think of a deliciously mouth watering rich dessert. However the Yule Log has its origins in the cold winters of Noway, on the night of the winter solstice, where it was common to hoist a large log onto the hearth to celebrate the return of the sun each year. The Norsemen believed that the sun was a giant wheel of fire which rolled away from the earth, and then began rolling back again on the winter solstice.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe has been around for a long time, and has been considered a magical plant by everyone from the Druids to the Vikings. The ancient Romans honored the god Saturn with it, to stay in his good graces during fertility rituals which also were preformed under mistletoe. Today, we don’t quite go that far under our mistletoe (at least not usually) but it could explain where the kissing tradition comes from. In Norse mythology, mistletoe is associated with Frigga, a goddess of love- who wouldn’t want to smooch under her watchful eye? The Norse Eddas tell of warriors from opposing tribes meeting under mistletoe and laying down their arms, so it’s certainly considered a plant of peace and reconciliation.

Gift/ Delivering aka Santa Claus

Sure, we’ve all heard of Santa Claus, who has his roots in the Dutch Sinterklaas mythology, with a few elements of Odin and Saint Nicholas thrown in for good measure. But how many people have heard of La Befana, the kindly Italian witch who drops off treats for well-behaved children or Frau Holle, who gives gifts to women at the time of the winter solstice?

Deck Your Halls

The Romans loved a good party, and Saturnalia was no exception.This holiday, which fell on December 17, was a time to honor the god Saturn, and so homes and hearths were decorated with boughs of greenery – vines, ivy, and the like. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have evergreen trees, but they had palms — and the palm tree was the symbol of resurrection and rebirth. They often brought the fronds into their homes during the time of the winter solstice. This has evolved into the modern traditions of the holiday tree wreath.

Christmas Holly
For those who celebrate the spiritual aspects of Christmas, there is significant symbolism in the holly bush. For Christians, the red berries represent the blood of Jesus Christ as he died upon the cross, and the sharp-edged green leaves are associated with his crown of thorns. However, in pre-Christian Pagan cultures, the holly was associated with the god of winter – the Holly King, fighting his annual battle with the Oak King.Holly was known as a wood that could drive off evil spirits as well, so it came in very handy during the darker half of the year, when most of the other trees were bare.
Christmas/Yule Tree

It is frequently traced to the symbolism of evergreen trees in pre-Christian winter rites. The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for birds to survive the harsh winters. At  Saturnalina, the Roman celebrants often hung metal ornaments outside on trees. Typically, the ornaments represented a god — either Saturn, or the family’s patron deity. The laurel wreath was a popular decoration as well. Early Germanic tribes decorated trees with fruit and candles in honor of Odin for the solstice.


Stories abound of fruitcakes from winters past, magically appearing in the pantry to surprise everyone during the holiday season. What’s interesting about the fruitcake is that it actually has its origins in ancient Egypt. There’s a tale in the culinary world that the Egyptians placed cakes made of fermented fruit and honey on the tombs of their deceased loved ones – and presumably these cakes would last as long as the pyramids themselves. In later centuries, Roman soldiers carried these cakes into battle, made with mashed pomegranates and barley. There are even records of soldiers on Crusades carrying honey-laden fruitcakes into the Holy Land with them.

Presents and Gift Giving

Today, Christmas is a epic event for retailers.That’s a fairly new practice, developed within the last two to three hundred years some say by Macy’s to bolster end of year revenue. Most people who celebrate Christmas associate the practice of gift giving with the Biblical tale of the three wise men who gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn baby Jesus. However, the tradition can also be traced back to other cultures – the Romans gave gifts between Saturnalia and the Kalends, and during the Middle Ages, French nuns gave gifts of food and clothing to the poor on St. Nicholas’ Eve. Interestingly, up until around the early 1800s, most people exchanged gifts on New Years’ Day – and it was typically just one present, rather than the massive collection of gifts that we’re inundated with each year in today’s society.

Birth and Resurrection Theme

Christianity hardly has a monopoly on the theme of resurrection, particularly around the winter holidays. Mirthas was an early Roman god of the sun, who was born around the time of the winter solstice and then experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox. The Egyptians honored Horus, who has a similar story. While this doesn’t mean that the story of Jesus and his rebirth was stolen from the cult of Mithras or Horus – and in fact, it’s definitely not, if you ask scholars – there are certainly some similarities in the stories, and perhaps some carryover from the earlier Pagan traditions or even divine act.
FATHER YULEMAS, Alistair Dragonblood


Why is it difficult for Americans to say; Sorry


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Earlier this week I was approached by my supervisor to write something up about how to Apologize properly. I smiled at her, giving her a mixed eye lift and grumpy cat frown, unsure if this was her way of telling me I had upset a coworker (which isn’t to difficult in small work environments). After reassuring me that everything was alright between us, she explained that I always seemed to apologize clearly and forgave others easily. She thought that it may have been that Canadians were raised differently and whenever she visited Canada it seemed a lot friendlier and healthier an environment than here in the U.S. I assured her that don’t know if it has anything to do with Canadians being raised with better manners or that some people just aren’t use to using them. With the recent ordeal with Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford I took the opportunity to joke about how Canada has a freer way of thinking as long as the tasks were completed. We laughed at Fords actions and I started to think more about how I apologize in comparison to others.

I have been living and working in the United States since 1993 and visited every year since 1984 so I am not sure that many American habits ‘bad and good’ are part of my lifestyle, though I suppose I still apologize freely as a Canadian. I am not posting the exact rules of apology since that was for the office use only but this is pretty close to it.

Apologizing Properly

1. Understand what it is that you are apologizing for first. Knowing the action that offended or hurt another has to be the first thing you address.

2. Never apologize to receive forgiveness from the other party  concerned. Some people I have come to realize like the idea of holding on to that offense for a very long time, in some cases they use it as a reminder or a crutch. As long as you have understood what it was that offended them and made your apology clear, than it is over with.

3. Family is the hardest to ask for an apology because they have more interaction with you over your life time and will file it away forever. Explain that you are sorry and that you need them to understand that it has hurt you because it is blood. (We have family me members working together in pods.)

4. ‘Sorry’ is not a back space bar or eraser, it doesn’t undo the damage. Be sincere and make sure the person you are apologizing to understands that you truly mean it.

5. Never say “I’m sorry but…” This is not an apology, it is you engaging them again with insincerity. They will not trust you and you will probably even compound the issue even more. Saying nothing would be better.

6. Learn from your mistakes- What can you change so as not to repeat this behavior. Ask the person that you are engaged with to assist you with this challenge.

7. Apologizing is not easy, it takes moral courage. The lesson to a apology is to really mean it. Go out of your way to address the individual or group and do it personally if possible. Do something special or out of character for you both, (just making eye contact or touching their arm with sincerity is a start. Don’t use social media, this is just you boasting on the issue.

In my world this is what I find works best, though my wife might argue that it may take me a few days to address an issue but when I do it is over. I do feel that a lot of our basic skills like apologizing comes from our home life as children, in which I was raised in an extremely polite household. This isn’t to say it was perfect but we were polite when we apologized.

A. Dragonblood

Editing for a friend/ coworker or family member


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Many writers seek assistance from friends or family members for various projects, but this aid must be given and received with care. Here are some tips about asking for informal editing assistance and providing it.


Editing for a friend or a family member is easily assumed to be a simple matter, but it requires clear communication about expectations. Different writing projects require various degrees of intervention, from proofreading to content editing to critiquing.


Before asking for someone’s help with your manuscript, for example, it’s best to research formatting options and commit to your manuscript structure, and then perhaps simply ask for proofreading and/or advice about phrasing. Of course, if someone you know is knowledgeable about manuscripts, welcome more feedback (though not everyone who evaluates manuscripts for hiring purposes is necessarily a good judge). Contradictory advice about manuscripts can be counterproductive, causing your confidence to be shaken.


If you look at a friend or family member’s manuscript, generally, limit the extent of your response to the parameters of the person’s request, at least as far as marking up the document. However, a diplomatic comment about an excessive use of certain words, for example, is acceptable even if you’ve merely been asked to check for spelling and punctuation errors. (I personally over used the word ‘that’ until it was brought to my attention.


If the document is a substantial work of nonfiction or fiction, agree on what type of assistance is to be given. “Does it work?” is a very different question than “Can you help me with my writing?” It’s not too much to request that someone read your novel and give you some general suggestions, but if you’re going to ask a friend or family member to spend many hours poring over it, commenting on plot, characterization, tone, structure, and the like (and, oh, yeah, correcting poor grammar and usage), you might as well hire the person rather than expect volunteer assistance. At this point, a professional editor will probably be more useful, and make sure the editor knows where you are going and coming from with the storyboard.


Finally, understand that if you ask for editing assistance, expect a thorough housecleaning, not five minutes of dusting and straightening up. Assure your friend or relative that you will accept revisions or critiques with good grace, and honor that commitment.


If you’re helping someone, even if he or she is confident, identify and communicate strengths and be diplomatic about weaknesses. And if the manuscript is substantial, ask for just an excerpt first, rather than the entire work. If the person’s writing skill is poor, it will be easier to simply offer some general comments or to suggest that you don’t feel up to the task. You’re welcome to be frank, of course — at the expense of good relations.