Books by Melissa Bowersock

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Writer’s Bane: The Disease’s of Apostrophe’s

I first began to notice it many years ago. Some people had trouble with its and it’s, a common confusion. But then it began to spread, like a cancer, across Facebook and Twitter, those bastions of common usage and colloquialism. When it began showing up in writers’ forums, I knew it was reaching epic proportions. The virulent, creeping Disease’s of the Apostrophe’s.
  • “I bought some DVD’s …”
  • “How many like’s can I get …”
  • “Where can I promote my book’s for Kindle…”
I get it when it comes to the its and it’s. Most possessives have an apostrophe, as in Pandora’s box or Burke’s law. But pronouns (which it is) don’t — like his, her and their. The apostrophe in it’s is because it’s a contraction (of it is), not because it’s a possessive case.
Of course the vast majority of possessives do use the apostrophe. My father’s house. A child’s plaything. Any noun or proper noun will use the apostrophe when it’s in a possessive case. But those first examples singled out above? Where’s the possessive in any of those? There are no possessives and there are no contractions, ergo … NO apostrophe needed.
Just because a word ends in s doesn’t mean it needs an apostrophe.
To add to the confusion, in possessive cases, the use of apostrophes changes with the number of objects. A singular object, my sister’s book, requires the apostrophe between the noun and the s. However, if I have 5 or 10 sisters, and they all have books, then it becomes my sisters’ books — apostrophe after the s (which signifies the plural).
Then the whole issue devolves into the murk when we use the possessive of a noun that ends in s. Mr. Jones’s car. Strunk and White, in their Elements of Style, insist that we always use the additional s, and the Chicago Manual of Style says either with or without is correct, but they prefer the additional s, as well. There are some arguments against that, however. I’ve seen some discussions that insist that Strunk and White wrote almost 100 years ago and so are a bit outdated, and that the second s is never needed. Others say it depends on how the word is spoken. If the second s is spoken, it’s necessary in the written word. Phonetically, if we’re saying Mr. Jones-es car, we need the second s. If we’re saying Mr. Jones car, then we don’t. This is one area where it seems to come down to personal style. My own preference is no second s (seems cleaner to me), but obviously I’m not the one making the rules here.
Now, is all that perfectly clear?
Just make sure you get your apostrophe’s in the right place’s, and make sure you really, really need them. Remember, if your word’s are not possessive’s or contraction’s, they don’t need apostrophe’s at all. Don’t fall victim to the Disease’s of Apostrophe’s.
[If you need a refresher on the basics of apostrophes, please see Cathy Speight’s article.]
Originally posted on Indies Unlimited  6/2/2015.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

New Release: Gangster Walk

Yes, it's that time again. I'm pleased to announce the release of Book 14 of the Lacey Fitzpatrick and Sam Firecloud Mystery Series, Gangster Walk.

Here's the scoop:

Technical whiz kid Cameron Gregory is one of the richest men in America, but even all his millions can’t relieve him of a menacing ghost. Only medium Sam Firecloud and his partner, Lacey Fitzpatrick, can do that. Hosted in Gregory’s luxurious Hudson Valley mansion, the paranormal investigators expect this job to be a piece of cake, but no one expects their research to lead them into the mysterious disappearance of a mobster kingpin from almost a hundred years ago.

Sound like fun? Come along and share in the opulent setting, the mystery and the discovery. The ebook is just 99 cents through October 21, 2018 .

If you haven't been introduced to Sam and Lacey yet, the first book in the series, Ghost Walk, is always priced at just 99 cents. The reviews just keep coming:

Great read; addictive series...
Fast-paced and intriguing...
I have every book in this great series... 
I cannot get enough of your books...
Great chemistry...
A great mix of paranormal and sleuthing...

Monday, October 8, 2018

Author Interview: Madlyn Harwell

Today I’m chatting with my friend Madlyn Harwell about her new book, It's Who I Am: One Hippie's Life Story.  Madlyn and I share the background of being Baby Boomers and children of the 60s, so although I’ve not read her book yet, I have a feeling I will resonate to a lot of it. So let’s dig in.

MJB: Madlyn, give us an overview of what your book covers. Where does it take us?

MH:  The book begins at the beginning of my life and goes right through to the present day.  It is mostly a compilation of the many adventures and travels of my life as I lived it as a Hippie, counter-culture child of the 60's.

MJB: A woman after my own  heart. When did you first decide to write your story down? Was it something you considered when you were experiencing all that you did, or did the notion only come to you later on?

MH:  Oh, no, I never thought about writing a book about my life as I was too busy living it!  But often when I would tell a story from my life to someone, I would often hear "you should write a book".  And so a few years ago I began to think that might not be a bad idea, and then it gradually became something I intended to do one day.  As I have friends from many different times of my life, and I don't really talk all that much about my past, I thought that people would like to know the whole of it, not just the pieces they have experienced with me.

MJB: Was it easy or difficult to write? Or perhaps did that change from episode to episode?

MH:  It was really quite easy to write this book.  I was an English major in college, and write a lot of emails, so I am used to writing on the computer, and I am a fast typist.  I had made a pretty complete outline of the book some time ago, so I followed that pretty closely.  I wrote it all in about three weeks, while I was recuperating from my gall bladder surgery, and got to spend a lot of time at home.  It would flow really smoothly.

MJB: Nothing like writing your life story to get through the boring healing time when you're not allowed to do anything active. Which reminds me, I’ve found writing to very often be therapeutic. Did you find that? Did writing your story change the way you view your life?

MH:  I just felt so good recalling all those fond memories of my past.  So often we are all so busy with our present lives, we don't have time to reflect backwards.  I found I was reliving those memories as I wrote of them, even the difficult ones, and I just renewed my understanding that truly I have been protected and blessed in my life.

MJB: Okay, I have to ask—did you change any names to protect the innocent (or guilty)? Did you “soften” any of the incidents, or just tell the pure, unvarnished truth?

MH:   I only used first names in my book, but they are the real first names of the people I wrote about.  I pretty much told it as it was, and I divulged things in this book that most of my close friends and relatives have never heard from me before.  I told the truth, but didn't embellish some things, just stated them if they were pretty sensitive.

MJB: Do you think the 60s were a formative time for you? Did they influence far past the end of the decade? If so, in what way?

MH:  I pretty much just lived it as I did, as the times called for.  I did what I wanted, and the culture was such that it allowed for that.  My ideas and beliefs from that time lasted far beyond the 60's, though I did modify my behavior as I got older and wiser, and times changed.  Inside, though, I don't really feel all that much different now than I did back then.  I'm still open to new experiences, am as curious about things as I ever was, and feel nothing can stand in my way if there's something I really want to do.

MJB: Looking back on your life, what person or event influenced you the most?

MH:  Certainly my Aunt Fran, who I wrote about in the book, was the most influential person in my life.  I feel she saved me in so many ways, and taught me all the really important lessons we need to learn in life.  She was an inspiration.  And then hooking up with my husband John, who as an equal in every way, was always just as willing as I was to have a new experience, and was daring, I was really able to live a lot of incredible adventures.  And it was he who taught me how to be a survivor, and made me strong.

MJB: Did you learn anything about yourself in writing this book?

MH:  I always knew I was the kind of person who did what I said I was going to do.  When I said a few years ago that I was going to write a book about my life, it seemed a monumental task that I wasn't sure I was really up to.  In actually writing and finishing this book, I discovered that I could tackle even the biggest challenges and be successful in accomplishing them.  Now that I've done this, have crossed off all the items on my Bucket List, I feel I can now really take it a day at a time, and just relish the remaining moments of my life better without a big to-do list hanging over my head.

MJB: Wow, how many people can say they've crossed off all the items on their Bucket List? Not many, I'm sure. What might readers find interesting in your story? What might surprise them?

MH:  I think readers will find the stories of my travels the most interesting and entertaining.  They will be surprised at the way I went about those travels, not as a tourist, but more as an adventurer.  I think the darker times of my life, and some of the things outside the law I did will certainly surprise many of them.

MJB: Ooh, sounds intriguing! If anyone reading this interview today was thinking of writing their own memoir, what words of wisdom would you share with them?

MH:  Mostly, be organized!  Spend a good deal of time thinking back over your life before you ever begin to write about it.  Taking some writing and journaling classes will help tremendously too.  And when you are ready, make yourself a detailed outline, so you can stay on track and remember all the things you want to write about.  And taking Melissa's Self-Publishing class is a MUST!

MJB: LOL, thanks for the plug. I know a memoir is a very personal thing, often times a magnum opus. Do you have any plans to write any more? Add to the story, or try your hand at fiction?

MH:  No, I think this is it as far as writing any books is concerned.  I may take some more writing classes just because I enjoy the inspiration that a class environment encourages, and I just like to write.  I just do not have the imagination required to write fiction, so that is out of the question.

MJB: If not writing, what’s next for you? What adventures do you have planned?

MH:  I still have the travel bug, and still like to take a couple trips a year.  In March next year I'm going to Ireland with my cousin, in the Fall going to the Oregon coast with a travel group, and also my husband and I plan to go to Pagosa Springs in Colorado to enjoy the hot springs.  I like to take day trips too, just hiking to new places with my best Arizona friend, or going with Camp Verde's Parks & Recreation dept. on their day van trips. I have a new 6-month old puppy, in addition to our other two dogs, and I am devoting quite a bit of time to training him, as he is pretty irrepressible. I still enjoy experiencing anything new, even if its just trying out a new recipe or going to a new restaurant, or taking a class on something new at OLLI.  Life itself still seems to me to be an adventure in all its aspects.

MJB: So, in other words, there's no sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch for you! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Madlyn. If readers want to know more about you or contact you, how could they do that?

MH:  You can email me at:

Monday, October 1, 2018

Exciting News!

I'm excited to announce that I've now entered into production to create an audio book for Ghost Walk and, ultimately, all the books in the Lacey Fitzpatrick and Sam Firecloud Mystery series. The narrator is a woman, since the stories are all told from the perspective of Lacey, and I had several very compelling auditions by women who wanted the job. After much deliberation, I settled on the one I thought best personified Lacey, and I have just received and listened to the first chapter. I think it's going to be awesome! We have some tweaks to work out, but overall I'm very happy with it, and I think it's just going to get better as we go along. I think this will open up a whole new dimension to the series, and will really make Sam and Lacey come alive. 

Reportedly, it takes about 4-8 weeks to finish an audio book, so it'll be a bit before I can announce the format is available, but stay tuned and I'll shout it out when it's ready. I want to thank all my lovely readers for making the series such a success, and look forward to spreading Sam and Lacey's fame with the new format.