Posted on

Tenses – An Overview

In the weeks to come, I will address tenses as part of my grammar blog on Fridays. To most English-bred writers, tenses come naturally, but not to writers to whom English is a foreign language.

A few writers write in the present tense, but most prefer the past tense as it gives more options to describe what is happening. I myself prefer the past tense. Sometimes, however, I find that a simple present tense sneakily slips in. Hence, I love my beta-readers, and I edit and edit and edit…

Overview

Tenses in language are used for time reference. There are many different constructions for time reference and not all languages use the same one. Basic tenses have a past, a present, and a future. Some languages have a past and a non-past (which is both the present and the future), while other languages have a future and non-future (which is the past and the present). Some languages don’t weave time into their verbs at all. Some languages differentiate near and remote pasts or near and remote futures.

The TAM system

The English language uses the ‘TAM’ system; the Tense-Aspect-Mood system.

Verbs mark in what tense the action is happening: the past, present, or future (the tense proper).

The aspect shows if the action is happening (continuous), is completed before another action (perfect), is an action that had been ongoing but is completed at a certain point (perfect continuous), or is an action that is just stated (simple).

The four moods are:

  • indicative (assertion, denial, question of actuality, or strong probability)
  • imperative (request, direct order, permission, and strong suggestion)
  • conditional (if sentences, hypothetical results, reporting dialogue, polite speech)
  • subjunctive (desires, wishes, assumptions).

The indicative is the most used mood form in the English language.

English is a Germanic language that has a past and a present (non-past) and these tenses are formed morphologically (the tense is created with the verb only). The future tense is made with auxiliaries, i.e. it is made of the same non-past tense with a supplementary supporting word (will or shall).

The table below may help you understand.

Tenses
Morphological With auxiliaries
Present Past Future
 

 

 

Aspects

 

Simple

 

I work I worked I will work
 

Continuous

 

I am working I was working I will be working
 

Perfect

 

I have worked I had worked I will have worked
 

Perfect continuous

 

I have been working I had been working I will have been working

Tenses in verbs are a large subject in the English language. Therefore I will limit the forms in the posts to come to regular verbs and the examples to positive sentence structures (no negatives or questions). I won’t go into abbreviations either.

For the following explanation of the tenses, please note that the root of a verb is the base form of a verb (= whole verb minus –ing).

Example: working – verb root = work

An overview of posts to come

Past

  • Simple Past
  • Past Continuous
  • Past Perfect
  • Past Perfect Continuous

Present

  • Simple Present
  • Present Continuous
  • Present Perfect
  • Present Perfect Continuous

Future

  • Simple Future
  • Future Continuous
  • Future Perfect
  • Future Perfect Continuous

 

Timeline Graph

Tenses_Graph

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense#English

http://www.whitesmoke.com/tense-aspect-mood/

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/simple-present/

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs

http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/verbtenseintro.html

http://www.ef.co.uk/english-resources/

https://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar

http://www.whitesmoke.com/tense-aspect-mood

http://www.ef.com/english-resources/english-grammar/verbs/

Posted on

My Weight Loss Journey

My Weight Loss Journey

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted an update on my weight loss journey this week. I recently sent my readers a questionnaire about what they wanted to read via my newsletter, and the overall response to my weight loss journey was that they weren’t interested. Obviously, this was to be expected. This website is about writing and it doesn’t really fit here. I just wanted to make sure.

I’m also extremely busy working on new covers for my Suckers Trilogy. They’re going to be awesome but need me to concentrate as I’m doing most of the work (on Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign) myself. It’s a steep learning curve. In the meantime, I’m also working on ideas for my next novel which I hope to begin writing as soon as the covers are done. A writer’s job is never finished!

So, I’m no longer going to post about my weight loss journey. I’ll keep trying to lose weight and may give a quarterly update, just no longer every week. My sincere apologies to those who were following my journey. I hope that my meal photos inspired you to make scrumptious, healthy meals 😀

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted on

Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat – Passive Voice

This is the last article I have up my sleeve in the Grammar series, for now. I’ll write another one as soon as I have my books in print-condition, something that has priority at the moment.

The article is a short one, but oh so important! As I’m re-editing my first book (for the so-maniest time), I still find passive voice sentences…

Passive Voice.PNG

In passive voice, the object becomes the subject. Obviously, you can only have passive voice sentences with transitive verbs (verbs that act upon an object).

Example 1: The famous writer gave a signed book to his greatest fan.

Example 2: The signed book was given by the famous writer to his greatest fan.

Example 3: His greatest fan was given the signed book by the famous writer.

In Example 1, the sentence is active; the writer gave the book. In Examples 2 and 3, however, the subjects are The signed book and His greatest fan resp., but they don’t do the writing. They were the direct objects and indirect objects resp. in the active sentence. Hence, sentence 2 and 3 are passive sentences. Note that the verb used in these sentences is was which is a dead giveaway.

Passive voice sentences are frowned upon and should be avoided if possible. There are a few instances in which this isn’t possible though.

Example: The baby was born at midnight.

Being born is a passive process; you can’t ‘actively birth’ yourself, hence the sentence containing someone/some animal being born will always be in the passive form.

When to use passive voice

Sometimes the passive voice is useful:

  • When you want to be deliberately vague

Example: The man was killed by one of the guests.

  • When you really don’t know who did it

Example: The man was killed by someone.

  • When it doesn’t matter who did it

Example: The man was killed.

Posted on

Object

It’s been a while since I posted my grammar lesson about the subject, but here is the follow-up on it about the object of a sentence.

You first need to know this information on verbs before we proceed on what an object is.

Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs

Verbs can be transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb takes an object (it transfers its action upon an object) whereas an intransitive verb is an action verb, but it doesn’t take an object.

Example 1: Jane writes poetry.

Example 2: Jane sneezed.

In Example 1, what does Jane write? She writes poetry, hence writing is a transitive verb.

In Example 2, you can’t ask ‘what does Jane sneeze. Jane performs the action, but the action has no effect on anything or anybody; there is no object. Sneezed is an intransient verb.

Object.jpg

An object is a noun that is affected by a transitive verb and usually comes after the verb. It can be a noun, a pronoun, a noun phrase (a noun or pronoun with dependent words), or a noun clause (a clause that acts as a noun).

There are 3 kinds of objects:

  • a direct object
  • an indirect object
  • an object of a preposition

Direct Object

To find the direct object, you need to find the verb first (and possibly the subject). Then you ask what or who this ‘verbing’ has an effect on.

Example: I am writing a book.

What am I writing? I am writing a book. A book is the direct object.

Indirect Object

The indirect object only exists if there is a direct object and are usually individuals (human or animal). When you have found the direct object, ask who or what is receiving the direct object.

Example: John gave Jane the book.

The verb in this sentence is gave, the subject is John. What did John give? John gave the book. The direct object is the book. To whom did John give the book? John gave the book to Jane. Jane is the indirect object.

Verbs acting upon a direct object and an indirect object are called double object verbs. In these sentences, the indirect object is always placed before the direct object.

Example: Mother read her children a story.

Her children (the indirect object) is placed before a story (the direct object).

Object of a Preposition

The object of a preposition is an object introduced by a preposition, usually to or for. The prepositional phrase is always placed after the direct object.

Example 1: Jane gave John a book.

Example 2: Jane gave a book to John.

In example 1, John is the indirect object and placed before the direct object (a book). In Example 2, to John is the prepositional phrase in which to is the preposition and John the indirect object. They are placed after the direct object (a book).

Note: Objects are always in the objective case. See the table below:

Subject Case Object Case
I Me
You You
He/She/It Him/Her/It
We Us
You You
They Them
Who Whom
Whoever Whomever

When unsure if you need to use I or me when using a ‘compound’ object; simplify the sentence.

Example: The bookstore manager picked her and me to open the book fair.

Is it her and me, her and I, or she and I? If we simplify the sentence we get:

Example 1: The manager picked she.

Example 2: The manager picked her.

Example 3: The manager picked I.

Example 4: The manager picked me.

Examples 1 and 3 are wrong as the object pronouns are in subject case. The correct sentences are Examples 2 and 4 (object pronouns in object case) and hence the original sentence above is correct.

Posted on

Mistral Dawn Blog Feature

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to share with you that Mistral Dawn interviewed me and it’s up on her website! You can find it here. You may find out something about me you didn’t know yet 😊.

Screenshot_20180323-083755.jpg

Thanks for the opportunity, Mistral! 😘

Posted on

International Translation Request

I have just been asked to translate two articles from Dutch to English. One from an artist and the other from an entrepreneur. Okay, I was asked by my sister-in-law, who will write the articles (she’s a freelance journalist), but still, my text will be published internationally! It appears the old saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ still applies 🙂

Posted on

My Weight Loss Journey – Week 10

My Weight Loss Journey

Week 10

Summary

Woohoo! I finally did it! My weight finally, officially dropped below the dreaded 76kg! It was a long and winding road, but I made it to this milestone. All I needed was a weekend without celebrating one thing or another.

Was it a good week? No, it wasn’t. I was going down my rabbit hole of depression as I have finished writing my trilogy and am at a bit of a loss for what to write next. My brain can’t seem to focus on anything, and all I want to do is eat and play this puzzle game on my phone. I should spend this precious time reading up on all those lovely indie authors whom I promised to read their books. And promoting my books…

Exercise

Needless to say, I didn’t stick to my exercise routine. I didn’t do any yoga either over the weekend, not the new ones or the old ones. Result: a terribly locked up-right shoulder that keeps me from sleeping without painkillers. I took the armrests off my desk chair yesterday in the hope this alleviated the pain, but it only seems to have made it worse. As a last resort, I have swapped my large keyboard for a narrower one, hoping that not having to reach out with my right arm to get to my mouse helps. I’ve only been sitting like this for 1.5 hours now and I can already feel my back starting to hurt. It appears that my back muscles are not as strong as my front muscles, pulling me into a fetal position; i.e. with a crooked back. I need to do strengthening exercises for my back muscles so they can compensate the pulling at the front.

Results

As mentioned, I am very proud to tell you that my weight this morning was 75.7kg (11.9 stone) and my waist has shrunken yet again to 80.5 cm (31.7 inches). I must admit that measuring my waist is slightly subjective, but I do my best not to lie to myself 🙂 .

W0-10F.jpg

I tried to smile for the photo, but it seems like I have a toothache. I won’t do it again.

W0-10S

I find this photo shows the best what I have achieved so far. My belly is almost at boob-level, my thighs are a smidgen less fat, and my butt has a nicer shape. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think my arm is also a smidgen less fat. Could be it only looks that way because of the shade though.

Last week, I was so chaotic that I completely forgot to post my meal photos! I haven’t been taking a lot of photos anyway because they’re beginning to get a bit repetitive, but here they are from the last two weeks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My goal for next week is to exercise every day and get rid of this back problem 🙂

 

Posted on

Mental Exhaustion!

I just spend most of the day booking flights; one to the Netherlands in May to visit my family, and one to the Dublin Writers’ Conference in June. Now I’m mentally exhausted! I don’t know about you, but I find it so stressful (I know, total first world problem). It’s not so much that I can’t find my way on the internet. The Expedia and KLM websites are extremely user-friendly. It’s just the stress of finding the right price for flights and accommodation and filling in my details correctly.

Easter Egg 2

The prices are enough to give you a headache. The cost for the writers’ conference wasn’t too bad, but I hadn’t calculated in the cost of staying in Dublin. Man, those prices are ridiculously expensive. It cost almost as much for just myself as for a family of four! I had looked into bringing the whole family with me, but it would cost too much for the short time there. In the end, I settled on a hostel where I could rent a ‘pod.’ I had never heard of this, but it’s basically a bunk bed, but with only the head-side open (see image).

Sleeping_Pod.JPG

There’s a curtain at the bed head and six others in the room. I’m only going to be there to sleep, so I don’t mind not to have a whole room to myself. Fingers crossed none of my roommates will have sleeping apnoe as this would keep me awake all night (with or without earplugs!). The hostel has the option of storing luggage, so I don’t have to drag my luggage with me during the conference. Phew!

It was troublesome to book the flight to and fro. Aberdeen isn’t a very traveled location, and as I wanted a direct flight only, there wasn’t much choice. I had to book an extra night to be able to attend the full conference, and I’ll have to get up very early on Monday to catch the first plane out (another reason the family isn’t joining me as they need to go to work/school in time). I had to weigh up what was more important; attending the whole conference or spending less money. As I was able to book this pod accommodation, which was about five times cheaper (!) than the hotel, I thought I could afford the extra cost of another night and be able to attend the whole conference.

As with my booking with KLM, I needed to be very careful which details I wrote down on my booking. See, I’ve got dual nationality and both passports state a different surname. In my Dutch passport, I am known by my maiden name, whereas in my Australian passport I have my husband’s surname. I have already once booked a flight to London on my husband’s surname and couldn’t travel as I didn’t have a valid travel document. It was a very costly mistake.

Dual_Nationality.jpg

I have also made the mistake of booking the wrong dates once. As I have multiple experiences of seeing things differently than they are (I know, freaks me out!), I am very insecure when booking these kinds of things. I prefer to have someone with me, just to confirm I’m seeing what I’m seeing before hitting the enter button. But, I’ve got to toughen up and make decisions for myself. You don’t learn if you don’t make mistakes 🙂

50YO.jpg

Even though I hate it to be jet-setting and leaving my family behind, I’m looking forward to both trips. I’m hoping to learn more about publishing at the conference and do some networking. I’ll be celebrating my 50th birthday with my twin sister and catching up with some family I haven’t seen in years. What’s not to look forward to?! Getting lost, losing luggage, sleeping in and missing my plane… Okay, but assuming it all goes to plan, what is there not to look forward to?! It’ll be a ball 🙂

Posted on

Dublin Writers’ Conference 2018

Woohoo! I just booked myself into the Dublin Writers’ Conference in June. I’m so excited! Of the speakers, I only know Wendy Jones as I met her at a writers’ workshop in Elgin last year. I have plenty of time to read up on the others.

Hollywood_Pitch

My main goal is to learn more about publishing and to network. I have also opted for a Pitch a Producer session, where Ken Atchity, an LA-based movie producer, will listen to a 1-2 minute pitch of my story and give feedback if it’s adaptable for TV or film. Secretly, I’m hoping my story will be chosen to be on the big screen, but that’s wishful thinking. If anything, I hope to learn more about what Hollywood is looking for at the moment and anything else I can about filming.

So excited! I really can’t tell you how much exactly, so I’ll just do a little dance now…

Posted on

Meet the Author… Mark Fowler

Meet the author

I know Mark Fowler from the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook site. We’ve been acquainted for two years now. Mark has been so lucky as to have his books published by Bloodhound Books and is doing pretty well, promoting his fourth book, Red Is The Colour, at the moment. I had the pleasure to chat with him yesterday evening through an author chat organized by Caroline Maston.

Mark L. Fowler

Mark_Fowler.jpg

What made you become a writer?

Possibly because I wasn’t any good at most other things in life! I love telling stories, making things up, indulging my imagination but in a way that communicates a truth to my readers. When I feel I have something to say, I write fiction, and I try to get to the heart of things the best way I can. 

Tell us a little about your work.

So far, I have published four novels: Coffin Maker (which took nearly twenty years to write!), The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour. My books are all very different, and Coffin Maker, for example, does not clearly fit into any single genre, though it contains strong elements of gothic fiction and very dark humour. Red Is The Colour, on the other hand, is clearly a detective mystery thriller. The Man Upstairs is also a detective mystery, but with a twist of the very strange. While Silver can be read as a psychological thriller or as a gothic thriller. It is also very satirical regarding the publishing trade. 

Why do you write crime?

Crime is only part of it for me. There is crime at the heart of my books, though I would like to think that I’m also trying to explore what makes people tick, why people behave in certain ways in certain situations. I love the psychology of human behaviour. And the darkest crimes-murder for example-raise so many questions. We want to know what forms the heart of a monster or why an ordinary man or woman could carry out the most seemingly depraved acts on another human being. I also enjoy reading crime, of course, and many of my favourite authors write in the crime genres. 

What sparked your interest in the supernatural/gothic horror?

I’ve loved horror since the seventies when I used to stay up late Fridays to watch Hammer House of Horror. having said that, there are very few horror novels/films that I really love, whereas there are countless crime and mystery books and films. For me, many of the finest horror writers go beyond genre and are not constrained by it, for example, Ray Bradbury.

What do you find the easiest and hardest parts of writing a book?

For me, it’s starting a book that is the hardest part. Going off in the right direction, beginning at the right place. Once I get the opening right and the momentum starts to develop, I’m okay. I’m learning to plot a little before I set off as I always fear I may run up a dead end. Easier on the nerves having a basic plan, though to over plot from the beginning would kill the book off for me before it got started.

How much research goes into your novels?

I confess to not really being much of a researcher. Coffin Maker and The Man Upstairs were perfect for me, as I could make absolutely everything up. With Red Is The Colour, I gave myself a break by using a local setting, an area that I know extremely well and could write about confidently. However, there was the matter of police procedure, of course. I don’t particularly enjoy reading dense procedurals, and so I steered clear of getting too bogged down, but I did ask a police officer I know to help me with some of the details and to ensure that I wasn’t making any glaring errors. She was very helpful. 

What do you do in between writing books?

Read books! And listen to music and watch films, mainly.

What have you got lined up for us?

I have a follow up to Red Is The Colour written and two psychological thrillers also completed, not to mention three YA books that I would dearly love to find a suitable publisher for. I can’t stop writing them! I’m taking some time though to consider my options before moving forward with my next publication and will keep you posted.

I wish Mark success in the promotion of Red Is The Colour. Mark’s book Silver is on sale for £0.99 at the moment, so why not grab that one as well while it’s hot!

Mark_Fowler_Books.jpg

Mark L. Fowler’s books can be found on Amazon and Bloodhound Books.

 

Posted on

Ask Me Anything Author Session

It’s now Monday, 12 March 2018, and I’m live to answer your questions. You can ask me anything!

Go to my AMA session site to type your question 🙂

Posted on

I’m an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Author Session Host!

Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!

Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?

AMA Photo of Proof2_W600.jpg

Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂