Never Too Late for Friendship and Thanks

I just spent some extended time with a new friend, and she shared this little saying with me. We don’t know the author, but she/he certainly coined a powerful metaphor.

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Note the essential elements:

focus – concentrate on a task or need

capture – this reminds me of “Carpe Diem”, seize the day

develop – use our creative abilities

The final verb, “take”, comes into play when plans go awry, as they often do. I hope to waste far less time bemoaning my failures and mistakes during the rest of my life than I have in the past. What a waste!

And I’d also like to practice gratitude far more faithfully. I can start easily this week: Thank you to everyone who helped me by hosting me on their blog or left an encouraging comment, posted a review, or bought my new release, With Each New Dawn, I’m truly grateful for all the support.

Just as it’s never too late to develop a new friendship, it’s always the right time to say a hearty thank you.

A Holiday Toast to “Old” Writers…

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We woke up to the season’s first snow this morning, transforming our grey, early-December Iowa into a wonderland. Today I’m sharing author Jane Kirkpatrick’s November post, because it holds encouragement for “old” writers. Like a fresh snow covering, we have a great deal to offer the world. May her words bless your Christmas stockings off!

Francis Bacon wrote: “Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” I present this wisdom as four “old” authors this past month have spoken to me about getting published. They have terrific story ideas, the time and energy to pursue their craft and demonstrated perseverance. What they’ve shared about finding a publisher is astonishing. At one conference, an editor said publishing older authors for the first time is just not cost effective because they “don’t know how to do social media or even what a platform is.”

Of course we know what a platform is. It’s a pair of shoes. No, really, it’s a mission statement, what one is willing to stand behind and for. We older authors have had platforms for years as young people going to war or taking stands against them; about the environment; as parents advocating for kids; as business owners and/or employees working long hours with integrity because we believe in what we’re doing and in the communities we’re doing it in. We know how to create a writing platform, one we can stand on and for, just as we know how to write a story.

More importantly, we bring life experiences to the stories we tell. We know how to create empathy for a character because we’ve shown empathy for others in order to live in community. We know how to give voice to those seldom heard because we’ve been listening for years. And we know how to memorialize, how to write about what matters not only to ourselves but as ways to reach others, most of whom are much younger than we are. Perhaps we can prevent in real life the mistakes that our characters make by telling stories constructed on our platforms.

As for social media…one of my “wise” author friends noted, “We have networks from years of working, contacts made while researching, people excited for us in retirement as we pursue another occupation, that of becoming an author.” We can get thousands of friends and “likes” and Twitter followers. She noted too that while many of us aren’t savvy about social media, we have resources to hire people to help us with the technology required of this writing world. At the very least we have 15-year-old grandkids or nieces and nephews to offer guidance. And because we read and are a part of this fascinating world, we also undertake new challenges with vigor knowing that even old rats, when given new mazes, grow new brain cells. If an old rat can learn new tricks, I can!

With my latest book This Road We Traveled about (in part) a 66-year-old woman who didn’t accept her adult children’s plan for her life and struck out on the Oregon Trail with her own wagon, I’ve become especially sensitive to the passions of age. It was what Tabitha Moffat Brown accomplished after she was 66 years old in 1846 in her adopted state of Oregon that moved the 1987 legislature to name her “The Mother of Oregon.” Many of the historical women I write about came “of age” in what we might call their “old age.”

The Psalmist wrote “The Lord knows my lot. He makes my boundaries fall on pleasant places.” Personally, I think publishers are missing the passion of a great story when they let a border like age define an otherwise very pleasant place. Bring on that old wood, aged wine and trusted friends! And yes, old authors.

Thanks so much, Jane. If you’ve yet to read any of her wonderful historical fiction, now would be a great time for a taste! 

Are all writers Authors?

Carol Parsons has been writing a long time. But what qualifies a writer as an author? Take it away, Carol . . . 

I started writing when my oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 1980. She was 3 years old and I needed answers, but I couldn’t find anything. When I found even the smallest amount of helpful knowledge, I would journal it so I could refer back to it later.

As time passed, we had two more children and decided to homeschool. I couldn’t afford homeschool curriculum, so I rewrote the public school’s lessons to suit our beliefs. Each week we would read library books, and I often thought I could write better, or spin an old story with a creative ending. Mostly, my writing was just for my family. Eventually however, I started writing newsletters for our church, pamphlets for the 700 club crisis line, plays for the church youth group, then employee manuals and such at my different jobs. In the process, I fell in love with writing, and after awhile I couldn’t remember a time I didn’t write.

For years, I had fantasized about writing a “real” book but never thought I could since I wasn’t…You know… A “real author”. As a public speaker I wrote my own materials, and when asked if I had books I laughed it off. So this year I took my materials from my workshops and other events and created e-books for Amazon. I was shocked at how well received they were. The sales started immediately.

Now, with two books and actual readers, I thought “maybe I am an author”. I began reading and learning all aspects from cover designs, editing, marketing, and formatting. I started writing a book that I had started years ago, and set a June 1st deadline for myself. And through the Grace of God that deadline was met.

Today, I want to share with you my book. “Reaching the Mountain Top” is based on Isaiah 40:31, and written for anyone going through a challenge in their life. It shows four promises that God offers as we wait upon Him. I hope you will get the chance to check it out and let me know your thoughts.

Find out more on Amazon.com at; Reaching The Mountain Top

RTMT cover for Kindle Direct at larger size

My other books can be found here” Manic Success

And From Hobby to Business

 My new photo at 375dpiCONNECT WITH CAROL

Website: CraftersCornerCafe.com                               linkedin.com/in/crafterscornercafe

Twitter: twitter.com/CraftersC                                   Facebook: /Carol-L-Parsons-694353317374143/

Amazon: amazon.com/author/cparsons

 

Julie Arduini – The Entangled Series

Welcome, Julie. I’m glad to have you visit, with three posts this week to celebrate your new releases. I’ve always enjoyed your quip about someday surrendering the chocolate. (See below.) Today, I’m looking forward to hearing about Entangled-Surrendering the Past.

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I’m excited to present the second book in my rebranded Surrendering Time series (formerly Adirondack Surrender Romance).  This is Carla Rowling’s story, Jenna Anderson’s best friend from ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present. In ENTANGLED, Carla’s been handed her dream. She’s able to leave her “pay the bills” job as sheriff and attend cosmetology school. It’s such an extravagant gift Carla feels unworthy, still unable to forgive herself for becoming a mom as a teenager.

Carla struggles with guilt, and leaving her now teenaged son, Noah, as she goes to school. When Noah’s father, Wayne Peterson, moves to town and asks Carla to give him one more chance, she’s torn. Her flannel-wearing, truck driving boyfriend, Will Marshall, has supported her through all the changes. As she tries to excel in beauty school, she deals with fear of Noah making teen choices that are too familiar to her own history. Wayne’s right there, wanting to pick up where they left off in high school. Will doesn’t know Carla’s torment because she hasn’t told him her problems. Will Carla’s choices cause as many entanglements as a bad perm?

ENTANGLED is scheduled for release in May. Look for ENTRUSTED to re release for free (ebook) in the same time frame. Follow Julie Arduini on Amazon, Goodreads, and throughout social media as @Julie Arduini to stay in touch for the latest information.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the upcoming re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, set for a spring release. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

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Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

 

 

In the Swing of Spring

My baby kale’s peeking through the soil, and volunteer squash plants have emerged around the compost pile. The trees have leafed out, a sure sign that Spring isn’t just flirting with us anymore.

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And inside, I’ve experienced the fruits of my labor: the first box of In Times Like These arrived yesterday, on our thirty-eighth anniversary. This young World War II farm wife’s story has been long in the writing, and holding the finished creation brings undeniable satisfaction.

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Beside me on the wall hangs Emily Dickinson’s HOPE, which fits in with this season. It’s great to witness new birth all around us with our backyard cardinals, a multitude of robins, and flowers budding. We’ve even had our first butterfly visit. IMG_4839

 

I’ve always liked the way Proverbs puts it: “…the desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” Sigh….winter is gone for good. Welcome back, Spring, and welcome to the world, Addie!

I’ll keep you updated on our flowers, and for more information on In Times LIke These, see the previous post, MY BOOKS, or go here: http://amzn.to/1VFEoYh

Faith – It’s EVERYWHERE, it’s EVERYWHERE!!

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These tracks go somewhere. Just because we can’t see their destination doesn’t mean they don’t have one.

Similarly, people may say they don’t believe, but often suspend rationality. This is true in the internet world. For example, I replied to a FaceBook message from a woman I’ve never personally met. Her page cited her as a writer, so I asked what she wrote.

She sent a message: Nothing. I know I ought to be writing, but something in me keeps me from taking action. I don’t know if it’s fear of failure, or what, but my so-called writing is nonexistent at this point.

My reply: I’m a born cheerleader for people who have even one iota of an inkling that they’d like to write. I mentioned that I’d put off my desire to write for many years, so could relate to her situation.

Later, she let me know that she rarely checks her FB messages, and received mine by some fluke in the system that had never occurred before. (Do you get the picture that I’m no pro at using these tools?) Anyway, I answered that I’m not so hot at FB, either, and gave her my e-mail address.

Within an hour, another message came from her, saying she’d received that message from me in a text. Go figure. I don’t even know her phone number. Maybe there’s a logical explanation, but my reply works for me:

Well, I’d say maybe we’re meant to continue our conversation, and that some other power besides Google must be in charge of the airwaves.

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The more I think about it, seems that Internet users exhibit raw faith. We trust this manmade technical tool will work. We trust these messages we send, unseen yet real, will reach their destination. And we trust that malevolent hackers won’t interfere and send our lives into a tailspin.

Our belief is a kind of “knowing,” like the assurance that leaves turn fiery orange in autumn. But there’s really more evidence for the latter–we’ve seen it happen year after year.

Faith manifests in many modern arenas, though naysayers deny the facts. But this internet one escaped my notice so far. When I complete this article, I’ll edit it a few times and eventually post it or send it to some other blogger who’s invited me to visit. Their blog—tangible in one sense, highly intangible in another.

It’s all about tuning into the right address, calling up the blog’s presence, and embracing its power to aid communication. Kind of like another unseen, but totally real presence.

Reminds me of the excitement I feel today as my debut novel wends its way from New York. I trusted that it would be published, and now, that it’s been mailed. Seeing it for real will confirm what I’ve believed, and also be pure FUN! Of course, then I need to trust that readers will come … if you write it, readers will come.

Yes, readers will come, just like winter will. And they’ll fall in love with my heroine, and …

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My Debut Women’s Fiction is Releasing Soon!

Yesterday I received the official release date from The Wild Rose Press for my debut novel, In This Together. Here’s the cover – I guess you can see I’m excited. 

Wild Rose publishes romance of every kind, so you should know right off that mine is classified SUPER SWEET … in other words, it’s a lovely midwest World War II era story that won’t even make you blush.

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Probably every author dreams of readers falling in love with their main characters, and I’m no exception. Dottie Kyle, my heroine, would be great company along life’s journey.

She’s forthright, a hard worker, and slugging her way through losing her son in WWII without self-pity. Her husband died just after the war, too, so she took a job at a boarding house in their small midwestern town. This gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

She enjoys providing nutritious meals for the male boarders, who keep to themselves. But challenges arrive with a new employee, and true-blue Dottie tolerates the situation. Eventually though, her employer’s nasty behavior tweaks Dottie’s sense of justice and she’s forced to speak up.

At the same time, widower neighbor Al, husband of the best friend Dottie lost to cancer some years back, starts paying sudden attention to Dottie. She’s surprised to find she actually enjoys his company, and shares more of her feelings with him than she’d ever imagined.

Then, Dottie’s daughter Cora in California needs her desperately during a frightening turn in her third pregnancy. Will her longing to meet the two grand- babies whose voices she hears over the crackly telephone line be enough to overcome her debilitating fear of enclosed spaces … i.e., the train trip necessary to facilitate this meeting?

Or will she accept help from someone desiring with all his heart to share life with Dottie?

So, to all those I’ve met in the  past few years–my friends at the Cedar Falls Writers Conference, author and editor colleagues far and wide, and my friends and family, thank you for your encouragement and patience. The road to publication may have been loooong, but it did take me to the desired destination.

And I hope you enjoy Dottie as much as I do. She’s quite a gal!

Oh, I seem to have forgotten one important fact: the release date is November 18, 2015. Can you see I need all the help I can get with promotion?!?!  

Richard Mabry – Round and Round/Giveaway

Please welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to our blog today. He’s the award winning author of Medical Suspense With Heart, as well as the Prescription For Trouble series (Abingdon), Stress Test, Heart Failure, Critical Condition (Harper Collins), and  Fatal Trauma (Abingdon) To one fortunate commenter this week, he’ll give away a copy of Miracle Drug.

“Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – USA Today

THE WRITING CAROUSEL

There’s a song in the musical, The Fantasticks, called “Round and Round.” In it, the couple sees only the good things that go by, even though at times the view from the carousel is of scenes that are less than pleasant. Why do I bring that up? I mention it because the view of writing from the standpoint of the pre-published writer is much different than the one seen by the author who has at least a couple of books under his/her belt.

Before I got a contract for Code Blue, my first novel, I wrote four novels over a period of four years, garnering forty rejections in the process. And that’s nowhere near a record. Although some authors (like Gayle Roper) got a contract for their first novel, others (like T Davis Bunn) collected lots more rejections than I did before a publisher liked his work. Eventually I, and lots of other authors, prevailed. However, shortly thereafter I also learned something interesting: that contract wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of lots more work.

First, I quickly discovered that, although my novel might be good enough to make an acquisition editor happy, it would go through a series of edits and rewrites before it saw print. And all those edits and rewrites involved me. Did it make the work better? Of course it did. Was it time-consuming? Yes—but I learned with each editorial letter and rewrite.

In addition, there was the process of cover design, a process I’m pleased to say I’ve been involved in for all my novels. That’s nice, but also takes a bit of time. In addition, there was the back cover copy and author information. It was necessary writing, but took some work to accomplish.

Then there’s marketing. Although the publisher works at marketing the book, there’s a good bit for the author to do as well. And I learned very fast that no one wants a book to be read by a wide audience more than the author does. Say what you will about “the good old days,” but nowadays it’s a necessity for an author to be active in social media and other aspects of keeping his/her name and work before the reading public. Don’t forget, of course, that this includes not only their own website and blog, but being available (and even making arrangements) for guest blogs and interviews on the sites of others.

Oh, and while all this is going on, the writer should be at work on their next book. After all, none of us want to be a one-trick pony. And after the first and second come…you guessed it—the third. Authors who quit after the first book aren’t unheard of, but they’re rare. It’s even been discovered that Harper Lee, who supposedly stopped after writing To Kill A Mockingbird, had another book sitting in a trunk or someplace.

Now, imagine trying to keep all those plates spinning. That’s where I’ve been for a while: arranging to get out the news about my forthcoming book, Fatal Trauma, while finishing edits for the next one, Miracle Drug (due out in September), and keeping up interest in my prior novels—the so-called “backlist.” Has it required time and effort on my part? Of course it has. Would I trade it for the status of an unpublished writer? Not a chance.

So that’s the writing carousel. If you haven’t been able to get on yet, don’t despair. Work on your craft and don’t give up. The view from here is pretty good, even as it goes round and round.

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Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is an active member of International Thriller Writers, a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member the Romance Writers of America. His eight previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. His novella, Rx Murder, released via Amazon in April, and Abingdon Press published his novel, Fatal Trauma, in May of this year. Miracle Drug is scheduled for release in September.

You can learn more about Richard on his website (http://rmabry.com) and blog (http://rmabry.blogspot.com). He can also be found via his Facebook author page (http://facebook.com/rmabrybooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardMabry).

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Renee Blare

I’m glad to have Renee Blare visiting today, and hope you enjoy reading her take on creating a novel – in my favorite line, she tells us what gave her whiplash! And if you’d like to win an e-copy of Renee’s new release, please leave a comment.

My Fledgling Leaves the Nest…Finally

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You want to write a book. In fact, you’ve started a plot line or rough draft of one already. Now what?
A book’s like a child. Different stories float around inside every author’s mind, flowing out in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. Like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn.
Take my new release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote my first book in three months. The word flowed like a river from my mind and heart. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way, and I knew it was meant to be.
I decided to take the next step. Publication. I asked myself the question every new writer asks…how do I get published? What a question…and an eye opener! Have you seen how many different ways someone can publish today? So, I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Instead of putting my new book on a shelf, I discovered how to truly write a novel.
You have to understand. I’d never penned one in my life. That’s not saying I hadn’t ever written anything before. I loved to write short stories, and poetry, and I’d read every type of book imaginable. But as far as writing one…no. And it showed. Abundantly.
I look back at that first rough draft now and realize why I’ve rewritten the thing four times. Ever heard of head-hopping? It was atrocious. I gave myself whiplash. It took me a couple of hard years to learn the rules of creative writing, but I removed all kinds of nasty little things woven in the manuscript. After that, I discovered the plot holes and restructured my “perfect” story at the advice of an wonderful editor.
Was this in the hope of landing a contract? No, I did it simply to make the story better. Did any of this stop or get easier after I signed on the dotted line with Prism Book Group? No, in fact, I believe I underwent tougher edits courtesy of my awesome acquisitions editor, Susan.
The sun has risen and set on To Soar many times to get it to where it is today. And no story’s ever perfect. As a writer, you will always continue the editing process if it’s left up to you. After all, it’s your baby, your child. You want it to be ready to face the world.
But eventually, the manuscript must leave the nest. That means trusting your work, editor…your publisher that all has been done to make it the best it can be. You’ve done your part. Now it’s time to have faith, trust the Lord, and let go. No matter the outcome, He’s in control.
It’s time to fly.

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Karen Milligan, June 21, 2015

 

Karen Milligan is a reader, teacher and writer. Teaching high school English, literature and a myriad of writing styles for the past 51 years has had its redundancies and periods. Grading papers = editing. (She began teaching when she was 14 years old at a rural summer school and later taught her younger brother and her son all four years of their high school.)

She’s published 30 children’s stories, a book The Great Church Mouse Caper and 5 teacher resource books on writing. Currently she tutors students in expository and creative writing, writes for a Wisconsin Genealogy newsletter and edits thesis papers. She’s also writing her childhood memoirs along with a historical genealogical family tree involving Dutch and Scottish ancestors.

She lives in Menasha, Wisconsin with her husband of 35 years, a former instrumental music teacher; they have one son and two grandchildren, 16 and 18 years old. Her hobbies include: sewing, flower gardening, long distance hiking, reading, travel, photography, bird watching, writing memoir stories, singing, and charcoal drawing. She is open to editing and proofreading and can be contacted at kmbooks50@gmail.com or befriend her at Karen Porter Milligan on facebook.

 

Credits to the Edits

Have you ever thought about how many actual words you hear in a day? The number, if you could count them, would be astonishing. The sheer number of words you read in a day could be counted, but who would take time to do that? We writers and editors, who love words, handle them every day with our eyes and our minds. As a teacher of English, expository and fiction writing, I cannot fathom the billions of words that have crossed my brainwaves.

You, as a writer, accept the fact that you must also edit. Re-reading, searching for mistakes, looking for anomalies, tweaking unclear phrases or spying flat-out typos can be tedious or joyful. This all depends on your viewpoint and time needed to seek the mistakes.

In essay papers corrected by teachers are the following real-life examples of… well, youʼll see… History of the World, a studentʼs answer: Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

Another student wrote: The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldnʼt have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns–Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in “The Iliad,” by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity,” in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

A third student opined: Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. A fourth student expressed: In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

Now these were honest-to-goodness students’ use of the English language which is filled with funny, odd, humorous, out-of-place ideas and phrases. The rules, if you will, about editing take twists and turns. Two words that have been added to American language are: texting and impacting. The word “text” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. Mimi just texted me and I need to answer her!

The word “impact” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. But, we hear both used incorrectly almost daily. The students were impacted by the new campus ruling. One last word that has morphed since I was young is the word harassment. (And, yes, I used the word “morphed” correctly.)

Harassment used to be pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, but is now pronounced with the accent on the first syllable. Who and where the change was sanctioned on all three words is a mystery to me. Editing will always be a mud-fuddled job. Wait! Where did that word come from? Yikes! I ended a sentence with a preposition. See what I mean?

Alright, all of you writers and editors out there, keep up the good work. (Please, edit out the use of “alright!”) I give you credits to the edits!

Karen A. Milligan Menasha, Wisconsin