One Word or Two? Use Care When Combining Words

One Word or Two? Use Care When Combining Words

by Kathleen Watson

Brand Branding Strategy Marketing Creative Concept

What’s wrong with the following headline:

How to Setup a Marketing Campaign to Capture More Leads

If you recognized Setup as incorrect (it should be Set Up), you have a better sense of grammar than the person who wrote the headline.

When a verb such as set is used with a preposition such as up, it is called a phrasal verb: set up. Combining a verb with an adverb also creates a phrasal verb, as in cut back.

But when the elements of the phrasal verb are combined and expressed as one word, they create a noun:

set up becomes setup

cut back becomes cutback

break down becomes breakdown

Each of the following examples has two sentences. The first uses a phrasal verb (two words), and the second uses a noun — a single word created by a verb and a preposition. (Exception: cut in No. 4 is followed by the adverb back.)

  1. Please arrive early to set up the room.
    Setup should be done by 3 o’clock.
  2. Guests must check out before 11 a.m.
    Checkout is 11 a.m.
  3. We had to clean up the pavilion after the picnic.
    Cleanup didn’t begin until late afternoon.
  4. We’re going to have to get more exercise and cut back on desserts.
    If you want to lose weight, calorie cutback should be part of your plan.
  5. Businesses that start up with too little capital often fail.
    The startup required SBA financing.
  6. You can sign up for the seminar in room 208.
    Seminar signup ended last week.
  7. I back up my computer daily.
    Do you use the cloud for computer backup?
  8. Please break down the price by material, labor and profit.
    What kind of price breakdown did she provide?
  9. He’s going to fall out of favor with his boss if he misses more work.
    He got fired — the fallout of missing too much work.
  10. If you can stand by for a later flight, you’ll get a discounted fare.
    If you have a flexible schedule, flying standby can save you money.

When you take a shortcut and combine words, take care not to cut short the accuracy of your message.

kathleen-watsonKathleen Watson has nearly three decades of experience as an independent business writer, serving clients in both corporate and academic settings. Her weekly blog, Killer Tips from The Ruthless Editor, offers practical word and punctuation tips, as does her recently published book Grammar For People Who Hate Rules: Killer Tips From The Ruthless Editor. Contact her at:

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The Beatles Fest Is Almost Here!

The Beatles Fest Is Almost Here!

by Joe Carroccio

Beatlefest 2

The Fest for Beatles Fans will take place August 11-13 in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, and my coauthor, Marti Edwards, will be speaking at this fabulous function. She will be taking a well-deserved break from babysitting William, but I know will thinking about him the whole time she’s away.

Let me tell you a little about The Fest for Beatles Fans. Fans from more than 30 states, Canada, and beyond will attend this 41st annual Midwest Beatles celebration. Special guests include the 4 Wingmen, Neil Innes (musician/comedian/actor), Leon Wildes (immigration attorney who represented John Lennon), Louise Harrison (George’s sister), Mark Rivera (Ringo’s Music Director) and Mark Hudson (Ringo’s former producer) – and many others.

Beatlefest 1

Marti will be sharing an exhibit booth with professional Beatles scholar, Aaron Krerowicz, a great friend of 16 in ’64. Check out his website:

This Fest for Beatles Fans should be great publicity for 16 in ’64. Both Marti and I feel she should make some good contacts and even may sell some books.

With regard to me, my assisted living facility is working out very well, and I remain very positive, keeping myself strong.

By the way, we decided to turn over trying to work with the M.I.M. (Musical Instrument Museum) to our PR person and friend, Nicole Michael, of 910 Public Relations, LLC. Check out her website:

Of course, the search for a movie producer, continues. Still my priority!

“Distractions and interruptions will not stop me from achieving my goals or from implementing our program.” Great advice to everyone!

Love and blessings to all…

Joe sig

Joe CarroccioJoe Carroccio is the coauthor of 16 in ’64: The Beatles and the Baby Boomers. Learn more at:

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This Susie Homemaker Bakes Her Last Cake

This Susie Homemaker Bakes Her Last Cake

by Beth Kozan

When Elliot wanted to order a yellow cake with chocolate icing from the bakery at A.J.’s, I blithely said, “I can make you a cake.” I got out my recipe box and reached for the card: “One-Bowl Yellow Cake” and wisely checked to see that I had the ingredients. I put “cake flour” on my shopping list and headed off to my local grocery. Not only could I not find cake flour, but I had to have help to find the sugar; it wasn’t on the aisle marked “baking needs”!! Have we become such wimps that no one bakes anymore?

cake baking

A couple days later (feeling more emboldened), I resumed my search for cake flour and found it. It was in a box that promised “finest texture baking.” When the checker slid it over the scanner, she asked: “What is this used for?”

“It’s a finer textured wheat flour,” I explained, “but you can use all-purpose flour by taking out one tablespoon per cup.” As I took my groceries to the car, I wondered, Did I tell her the right amount?

So last night, I baked what will probably be the last cake I ever make!

First, I couldn’t find my cake pans. Finally, with the help of a flashlight whose batteries were fading fast, I located them behind the bottom tier of a mixture of pots and pans. I considered sitting on the floor to reach them more easily, but I might not have been able to get up from the floor. (Telling you how I learned that is for another blog post!) Since Elliot had already gone to bed, I removed a stack of seldom used cooking pans and was able to retrieve the cake pans. Whew!

It was 80 percent relative humidity that night of monsoon rains, a rare happening in the normally dry Arizona heat. By the time I found the pans, sweat was dripping from my forehead and running into my eyes. Cutting the paper to line the pans made for another sweat-fest. Parchment paper doesn’t “score” as easily as waxed paper, which I have but couldn’t find – no doubt it was hiding from me!

Finally I completed the three rounds of paper to fit into the pans for the three layer cake. The creamy batter worked well to hold down the paper that tried to curl up. I leveled off the third layer and popped them in the oven. Before I returned the recipe to the box, I reviewed the steps. Uh-oh! I had left out the ½ teaspoon of salt and the 1-1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Too late…

Thirty minutes later, I found out just how important baking powder is to a cake. What I remembered as three 1-1/2 inch layers, had transformed to three layers, just 3/4 inches in height.

This morning, I am on the way to the store to buy a can of frosting. Yes, my perfectly good recipe is in the recipe box. I don’t have the energy to fight another battle to make frosting from scratch.

Pay $30 for a special order cake that I can bake on my own? It just might be worth it!

Beth Kozan
is the author of the book Adoption: More Than by Chance and the forthcoming Beth KozanHelping the Birth Mother You Know. Beth worked in adoption for 35 years and retired to write. She has many more books than these titles to write and will emphasize and explore the concept of community in her additional books. “Growing up in a close agriculture-based, rural community in Texas, I felt the comfort and bonds of caring for others which is often missing in our busy lives today. Exploring and building communities for today is my writer’s goal.” Follow Beth on Facebook or visit her website, where she reviews books and films featuring adoption.

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The Effective Author: Incorporating Themes of Goodness

The Effective Author: Incorporating Themes of Goodness

© 2017 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

Do you believe in human goodness? That humans are inherently good? It’s easy to get on goodnessdiscouraged by news we hear from national and international politics. The hijinks of politicians and other leaders are currently at a well-exposed high. It is easy for culture to create literature, movies, TV shows, and gaming that are thick with dystopian themes. But perhaps this is the very time for writers to craft more stories with themes of goodness. In a difficult time on this planet, humanity can use reminders of hope. People need encouragement. People need to be reminded that goodness is inherent in our makeup, and goodness can be cultivated.

The Dalai Lama has said:

The roots of all goodness lie
in the soil of the appreciation for goodness.

So how can you, as The Effective Author, find some inspiration for themes of goodness and hope? One surprising source is your local news broadcast. Most local stations like to close with a positive news story. It’s often something funny and heartwarming. Some national news programs do the same. You watch, or you follow their websites, and get ideas and facts from the videos there.

Two weeks ago, CBS News broadcast an extraordinary story of collective goodness from Panama City, Florida. One hundred yards from shore, nine people suddenly found themselves caught in a riptide. Against the extreme currents, these people were drowning. People onshore, seeing the nine in distress, quickly formed a human chain to reach the group in peril, and the 80 people in the chain saved all nine, including one who had become unconscious due to a cardiac event! The rescuers closest to the riptide zone were in peril themselves. Yet they plunged immediately into the water in hopes of saving nine other lives.

Additional sources for heartwarming stories of goodness are websites such as Beliefnet and Faithpot, which have regular email dispatches by subscription. Glancing around Facebook and other social media sites, you are sure to find other organizations that regularly publish positive and inspirational posters and articles. Major ministries have regular programs and emails. You don’t need to subscribe to the cultural trend of dystopia! You don’t need to be drenched in political drama and discouragement. There is a huge community of encouragers throughout the World.

Countless irrepressibly good people are working against hunger, poverty, addictions, animal cruelty, violence, corruption, human trafficking, aggression of drug cartels, pollution, and global warming. Good people are working to make every wrong right. Human goodness is everywhere. And as Thoreau said,

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

Can you write from goodness? Can you write nonfiction and fiction with themes of goodness? Yes! Goodness can eventually defeat anything, and you, as The Effective Author, can help. Start now!

Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing Kebba books 2017practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, plus Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email Kebba’s newest book is the full-color Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and Inspire, also available through her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group:

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Researching an Historical Fiction Novel: How Much Is Too Much?

Researching an Historical Fiction Novel: How Much Is Too Much?

by Marcus A. Nannini

too much research

The further removed your novel is from the present day, the more critical the research element becomes. You know the story you desire to convey, but the details – those nagging details – are proving to be daunting as the time you spend researching them is piles up and the time you spend creating your novel decreases. As a writer of historical fiction, part of my goal is to receive reviews of my work stating something similar to: “There is enough here to make you wonder what exactly is fiction and what is not.”

It is almost impossible to perform too much research. Your research time should yield more than the ability to create vivid impressions of the locale, manner of dress, dialogue, etc. It should actually feed you ideas for the story, allowing the creation of a novel that draws the reader into it as if she/he were stepping through a time warp. The reader needs to be absorbed into the story as if it were a movie and they were playing the part of  an “extra.”

Each scene should be created in enough detail to set the stage, yet if you go too far, the reader may begin skipping paragraphs. For example, in describing a room, does the wallpaper need to be described as a “brightly colored floral pattern,” or should it read “a floral pattern composed of white lilies, yellow, white and red roses, pink carnations, cherry blossoms and pink and purple petunias with small, oval-shaped green leaves sprinkled throughout?”

Both may be appropriate, depending totally on the scene and characters you are building. If the character is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, the second description might be better suited. In most instances, however, the first description would suffice. The point being, detail counts, but too much detail will lose your readers.

My most recent historical fiction novel entailed researching different time periods, cultures, and locations as diverse as Burma and Wisconsin. I compiled so much research it filled a file drawer, not including the six books I acquired, read, and notated. Notetaking is critical.

Take notes contemporaneously as you perform your research. Sit down at the end of the day and work your notes into a coherent outline, allowing you to easily see your original notes and the underlying research at any time.

Do not rely on your memory, or you will overlook key elements; as the information piles up, the opportunity to miss key details increases proportionately. Effective research mandates effective notetaking. Simply taking notes does not guarantee anything other than expending a lot of time re-reviewing them again and again as you search for the relevant information you should have placed into your outline. You will write a better novel, in less time, when your notes are organized.

In writing the historical novel, an author uses both their creative brain functions and the more pragmatic ones. The pragmatic part entails dutifully researching each element, and such research can be frustrating.

More than once, I have entered internet search parameters I expected to result in precisely what I was seeking, only to find my words had been grossly misinterpreted by the search engine or produced only partial results, mixed with totally useless results. Research requires the ability to approach a problem from multiple angles to produce enough information for you, the writer, to creatively construct your story.

For example, in Chameleons: An Untold World War II Story, it was necessary to re-create dialogue from persons as disparate as contemporary native Hawaiians working on an excavation site to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1941. If you overlook the dialogue, with Southerners speaking as Californians, for example, you have lost the element of authenticity. All the more reason why you can never do enough research. In fact, I was performing ancillary research only a few days prior to my publisher’s deadline. I had been working and researching the novel for years, but a little detail suddenly presented itself to me and had to be addressed in the story. I sent the manuscript off knowing it was the best it could possibly be.

On the other hand, too much research making its way into the story can and will slow down the pace, and when an author loses pace, the author loses the reader. Make your decisions regarding deleting some facts or details only after you have finished your initial draft. During your first draft, insert all the detail you have, bearing in mind that it is only the first of at least a handful of drafts. If you fail to add a detail the first time around, you could easily overlook it later, only to discover, after the fact, that you omitted a fairly critical piece of information.

My first draft of Chameleons was just under 100,000 words. My final draft, as submitted and accepted by my publisher, was less than 95,000 words. Just because you write something does not mean you cannot cut it or dramatically alter it. I had to go through my novel and continuously ask myself: “Does this sentence/sentence grouping/paragraph add to my story? Does it keep the pace flowing? Is it really just superfluous, as I already have enough detail on the subject?”

Always remember the word “pace.” You must pace your novel. The best way to screw up your pace is by getting bogged down in too much detail – but it’s better to start with extra detail and pare it back or you find yourself with a review like this:

“I bought this book because I love the time period in which it is set. Was I ever disappointed, as the author consistently failed to paint me a picture, leaving out so much detail in so many scenes as to leave me wondering where, and when, it was taking place.”

In summation:

  • Research every aspect of your novel
  • Be certain you can easily refer to your original research
  • Add every bit of detail available to you as you write the first draft.

After all, it is only the first draft. But proper research will give you all the ammunition you will need to round it into a well-paced, beautiful re-creation of the time period about which you are writing.

Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel.

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Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

by Rita Goldner

Since my whole improbable journey to becoming a published children’s book Monarch buttterflyauthor was launched by my love of orangutans, I like to blog about them and other endangered or threatened species. I certainly have no shortage of research material. At least I’m entertaining myself, and hopefully a few others. Today I tackle the fascinating Monarch butterfly, which has the longest migration cycle of any insect on earth. This inspiration hatched from a recent trip to Butterfly Wonderland with my grandkids. As in my post last month about horseshoe crabs, I’ve tried to find an analogy that relates to the life of an author.

Every spring, millions of monarchs awaken from their two- to three-month hibernation, either in southern California or in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. They breed and fly a short distance north to lay eggs. This first generation starts a year-long cycle of four generations. The ones from California stay west of the Rockies and head north. The ones from Mexico fly from Texas, in a 50-mile wide corridor of river valleys between Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas, and spread north toward the northern states and Canada. They only live a few weeks, so will finish barely a third of the journey. Before dying, they mate and lay eggs, which become caterpillars and more butterflies that continue the trek. This second generation also lives a few weeks, and lays eggs. Barring predators and other misfortunes, the third generation reaches the northern end of the migration and lays eggs. The fourth generation butterflies are the superstars. They’re destined to live six to eight months, and make a spectacular trip, under staggering odds, all the way back to the starting point, 2,000 to 3,000 miles south.

This drama has been occurring for thousands of years. The little travelers try to avoid large lakes and mountains, catch winds and thermal waves, and hide in trees when it rains. The intriguing mystery remains – how do these Monarchs find a destination they’ve never seen? Since the butterfly relay race takes three to four generations to complete, none of these beautiful insects completes the whole migration. The astounding part is that the ones completing the anchor leg of the journey flock to the same tree where their grandparents or great-grandparents rested the previous spring.

While flying, the butterflies gather two pieces of information: the sun’s position, perceived by their eyes, and the time of day, perceived by a biological “clock” in their antennae. With this data, they can navigate accurately to very specific locations. The northern end of the trip is spread out across the northern U.S. and Canada, but the southern end is very narrow and specific. The superstar butterflies west of the Rockies travel to the southern coast of California, and those east of the Rockies head to Mexico, to the Sierra Madre Mountains in the state of Michoacán.

My metaphor for authors is the journey. For these little creatures, the journey is their goal, not the destination, since only a small percentage of them reach the final stop. For authors, if fame and fortune is the goal, we know that only a small percentage of us will achieve it. If the goal is enriching the lives of our readers and ourselves, then we have already achieved it.

Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. To view additional illustrations and other books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook.

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A Portrait in Words

A Portrait in Words

by C. K. Thomas

“Letters, we get letters. We get stacks and stacks of letters. Dear Perry, would you fill a request and sing the song I like best?” Perry Como took song requests on his television show in the late 50s, using this clever introduction. That little ditty keeps running through my head as I sort the letters I’ve saved and stuffed in file folders over the years. I’m astounded by how much of the significant past I’ve forgotten. What a treasure trove of memories these letters have unearthed!

portrait in words.jpg

My mother-in-law, Marjorie, tells a cute story about Perry Como. When a neighbor of her sister Shirley in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had a baby, she took a gift to the house. She carried her wrapped present up the steps to her neighbor’s front door, and who should answer her knock, but Perry Como. Shirley was so shocked, she just stood there dumbfounded. So Mr. Como kindly said, “Come right on in. I’m just Grandpa Como.”

I love family stories! In light of that fascination, I’m prepared to share a few of mine with you.

The best childhood years a girl could hope for rolled past way too fast at 501 Kingston Road. The backyard swing hanging from the outstretched arm of a sturdy elm, long breezy days filled with skates, bicycles and bare feet defined summer.

The white frame house at 501 had a red cement front porch with two steps. It was graced by white latticework my Daddy made in the garage. Mother planted blue morning glories on them every spring. On the right side of the porch, a black mailbox hung within reach of the front door that opened into the living room. The milkman left the milk on the porch floor directly below the house numbers, where anyone could see if we got whipping cream or an extra box of butter that week.

Visitors knocked or rang the doorbell that chimed in the hall next to my brother’s bedroom. A little rubber mallet inside a metal cover toggled back and forth to strike first one and then the other of the two tubes hanging down to within a couple of feet of the floor. One tube made a ding and the other a dong. Pushy visitors waiting on the front porch often walked right over and looked in the dining room window for a view clear through the dining room and the full length of the galley kitchen. There was a red booth at the end of the kitchen and a metal pedestal table with a shiny black Formica top. White knickknack shelves with scalloped edging hung over the booth next to the window that looked out to the backyard.

Everything important started on that red front porch. My brother Jack and I went off to school from those steps, and Easter Sunday pictures were posed there. The movie camera captured people coming and going from our front door on ordinary and special days. I wouldn’t even remember today what my Uncle Lawrence looked like if he’d chosen to leave from the back door where no picture was likely to be taken.

Standing on the porch, you could see both Kingston Road and Highland Avenue. Highland ended in front of our house and cut Kingston into its first two blocks. Sleds careened down the hill to the bottom of Highland in winter. In the summer the intersection of Highland and Kingston in front of 501 was the place to play ball or kick-the-can under the streetlight. My brother Jack used to tell me that the bats flying around under the streetlight at night would get in my hair and make a nest.

I offer these, and more word pictures of my past to come, in hopes future generations might know a little bit about how it was to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s. I hope you, too, are inspired to inscribe your own history on the hearts of those who come after you. Good luck!

C.K. Thomas lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Before retiring, she worked for Phoenix Newspapers while raising three children and later as communications editor for a large United Methodist Church. The Storm Women is her fourth novel and the third in the Arrowstar series about adventurous women of the desert Southwest. Follow her blog: We-Tired and Writing Blog.

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