Tag Archives: Shawn MacKenzie

SpewagE – Cool Commas

Let’s continue the SpewagE series on the blog – because there is so much to talk about and unpack.

Spelling, Proofreading, Editing, Writing, Apostrophes, Grammar, and English. “SpewagE.” I capped the last E because that’s how the art came out. 

Cool Commas

Commas are so cool, so gnarly, and so groovy. But, why so confusing? 

We can talk about commas all the live-long day. There are transitional expressions, absolute phrases, commas in dates and addresses and numbers, in titles, with coordinating conjunctions, coordinate adjectives, interrogative phrases, and in series, and yikes, the list goes on and on and on. 

I had general ideas for this Cool Commas blog, but I also referred to my Strunk and White, Elements of Style and my favorite reference of all time, Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker. 

Here are a few basic examples, reflected from checking in with those two tomes and my own experience with having a Mom and Ang who constantly told me to “Look it up” and then made me look it up. 

Simple – And 

I am old, and I am beautiful.

Both underlined segments are stand alone. In other words, “I am old” is a sentence, and “I am beautiful” is a sentence. So, I add the comma before the “and.” 

I am old and beautiful.

“I am old” is a sentence, but “beautiful” cannot stand alone. So, no comma before the “and.”

Simple – But 

Same basic idea as “and” above. 

I am old, but I am feisty and politically engaged. (Both before and after the “but” are full sentences.) 

I am old but feisty and politically engaged. (Just the first part, “I am old” is a full sentence.) 

The serial or Oxford comma

I will give up my Oxford comma when you pry it from my cold, dead, and gnarled hand. 

The Oxford comma is the second comma after “dead.” 

Example of why I honor and continue to utilize the Oxford comma in a series: 

“I love my parents, James Taylor and Carly Simon.” (Indicates my parents are James Taylor and Carly Simon.)

“I love my parents, James Taylor, and Carly Simon.” (Indicates I love all three.) 

You could also change it up and write, “I love James Taylor, Carly Simon, and my parents.”

*     *     *

Do you typically wing it when it comes to comma placement, or do you have rules?  

*     *     *

A dragon-sized thank you to Shawn MacKenzie who has been editing and proofreading all these SpewagE blogs since I started them September 5, 2021. Shawn is the author of The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, Dragons for BeginnersLlewellyn’s Little Book of Dragons, and the upcoming Tarot of Dragons (about which you’ll be hearing more in the months to come), as well as numerous other fictions and essays.


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips

I’m published!



Here’s a holiday selection

From my collection

(changed slightly to accommodate Thanksgiving)

Holiday Dinner

Chicken runs round the farm yard,

Wishes he was the duck.

Duck runs round the barn yard,

Wishes he was the pig.

Pig runs round the pig sty,

Wishes he was the horse.

Horse smiles, relaxes in stall.

Thanksgiving Eve, he’ll mourn them all.


My collection includes Family and Friends, God Bless Our Military, Limericks, Beautiful Earth, Art, Imagination, & Miscellany, Haiku, and My Funny Bone.

To order, go to “No Boundaries” at Amazon.




Filed under Book Cover Design, E-books & E-publishing, Personal Articles, Prose & Poetry, Publishing

Here there be dragon lovers. And a dragon collector.

IMG_1148Dragon Lovers 

Recently, Shawn MacKenzie, of MacKenzie’s Dragons Nest, recognized me as a lover of dragons. Heck, who isn’t? You can see that post at Dragon Loyalty Claimed and Freely Given.

And, though I do love Word Sharks, I have to admit, in my heart beats a dragon.IMG_1150

Though the award carries with it a certain responsibility (name other dragon lovers, share five things that people might not know about me), I don’t like rules. The only other true dragon lover I know is Shawn. And I don’t really like to talk about me.
ShawIMG_1433n knows I love dragons – that’s one of the reasons we were drawn to each other. Another reason…Shawn is a fantastic writer, and I figured if I glommed onto her, I might learn something. Same thing goes for editing – she’s a more skilled editor than I am.

I am not only a dragon lover, I’m a dragon collector. Throughout this post you will see the general dragon theme of my new post-flood apartment. Yes, here there be dragons. Lots of them.

As I said, I don’t like to talk about myself. Not much.IMG_1724

But did you know that I learned American Sign Language while I worked at the New Mexico School for the Deaf?

Did you know that, at 57 y.o., I started to IMG_1364take tap dance lessons? Loving it!

Did you know that I have one entire bookshelf dedicated to foreign language dictionaries and books about writing and editing and grammar and punctuation?IMG_1656

Did you know that I have a collection of limericks (given to me by my beloved Aunt Ang) so raunchy I can’t read them in mixed company? Heck, I can’t even read them out loud in my own company, they are that raunchy. Though Ang and I used to read them to each other while we cackled like demented hens.IMG_1654

Did you know that Mom and Ang harped and harped on me to “Look it up?”IMG_0005

Enough about me.

Shawn’s wonderful books, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook and Dragons for Beginners, can be found at Llewellyn.com.

IMG_1656I thank Shawn for the honor of being her #1 Dragon Lover. And I apologize for not following the rules to the letter.


Filed under Dragons

Dragon books give-a-way winner, with Shawn MacKenzie

red-dragon[1]The winner of last week’s Dragon books give-a-way…

Sue Heavenrich

Congratulations, Sue!

Shawn MacKenzie will contact you to arrange delivery of

Dragons for Beginners and The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.

Sue’s blog

You might like some of Sue’s science posts on her blog Archimedes’ Notebook – “hands-on science exploration for children and their parents.”

From Sue’s blog…

Things to Do in FallIMG_0799

plant daffodils and lilies

watch maples turn red

collect acorns

pick apples

find glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

plant garlic

follow woolly bear caterpillars

map monarch migration

star gaze

make leaf printsIMG_0813

hunt for insect galls

do bark rubbings

walk like a fox

make a nature wreath

collect flower seeds

make a compost pile

rake leaves into a pile and jump in

collect every color of leaf


Filed under Blogging, Special Events