Thursday, September 18, 2014

Word of the Week: Behoove

Titania and Bottom (c. 1790) by Henry Fuseli (1741–1825).
No, behoove is not a spell from an evil wizard that causes one to grow hooves or in some way look like a character in one of Henry Fuseli's paintings. (Maybe it should be, but we can debate that another time.) Behoove is a not all that commonly used verb. It means that something is necessary, proper, ethical, or worthwhile. Modern usage combines it with an object:
It behooves you to brush your teeth before going to bed.
It behooves the jury to listen to the testimony of witnesses.
An archaic form of behoove, meaning to be proper, does not take an object. For example:
Accuracy is a quality that behooves in accountants.
That sentence is rather wordy and awkward sounding. Not surprising that we don't use behoove that way anymore. Behoove is the verbal form of the even more uncommon noun behoof, which means advantage or benefit. For example:
He took the food for his own behoof.
As a challenge, try working behoof into everyday conversation. It behooves us all to improve everyone's vocabulary.

Behoove derives from Middle English behoven, which comes from Old English behōfian, meaning to have need of or have use for. As in modern English, it was the verbal form of the noun behoof. Behoof derives from Middle English behove, which comes from Old English bihoflic, meaning useful. The existance of bihoflic suggests there was a word *bihof, meaning advantage or utility, deriving from Proto-Germanic *bi-hof, meaning a requirement or obligation. Cognates exist in various Germanic languages such as Old Frisian bihof, Dutch behoef, and Middle High German bihuof, all of which mean an advantage, benefit, or useful thing.

Are you wondering about the relationship of behoof and behoove to hoof, as in a horse's hooves? Hoof derives from Old English hof, meaning hoof, which comes from the Proto-Germanic *hofaz. It appears the words have always had a similar sound and spelling but no common origin. However, it does behoove a rider to clean a horse's hooves.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Suspense/Horror: Godland

GodlandStuart West, who gave us the Tex series and that pleasant street in Neighborhood Watch, is back with another terrifying, twisty rope of words: Godland.

An embittered farmer. A New York corporate raider. Two teenage high school girls. A failed small business owner. Past and present collide, secrets are revealed. These disparate people gather at a desolate Kansas farm for a hellish night not everyone will survive.

Godland is a dark psychological suspense horror thriller. A Midwestern nightmare. Farm noir.
I admit, I enjoyed the plot. There was one section I didn’t think much of. Not because it wasn’t well written, because it was. The topic was a little much for my sympathetic, compassionate heart. I had to stop reading, concerned I wouldn’t sleep.
—Erika (from Amazon Review)

Get ready for a hair-raising, leave-the-lights-on read!
—M. Snow (from Amazon Review)

This is suspenseful horror ala Hitchcock style.
—Gail Roughton (from Amazon Review)
To learn more about Mr. West's twisted mind or to read more of his books, check out his blog or visit his Amazon author page.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Blitz: Elixir Bound

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

Elixir Bound is a quest fantasy but not your standard sword and sorcery adventure. Many quests lead to a prize or freedom. The best lead to self-discovery and a new sense of responsibility, maturity, and wisdom. Elixir Bound falls squarely in the latter category.
—Jeff Chapman

I particularly enjoyed the protagonist, Katora. She's stubborn, determined, brave, and plucky; completely aggravating and likable at the same time.
—Stuart R. West

Ebook on sale for $.99 until September 27. Buy it on Amazon or from the MuseItUp bookstore.

Signed paperback giveaway on Goodreads until September 28. Enter the giveaway here.

About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote ELIXIR BOUND and the forthcoming ELIXIR SAVED so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app THE BEDTIME KNIGHT and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll) or Tumblr.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My 500 Words -- Week 3

A mixed bag this week but a strong showing on a couple days, especially Saturday, when I churned out 650 words. Friday was a zero, but we had a lot of peaches that had to be pealed before they rotted beyond eating. Peaches have a way of all going ripe at once despite our efforts to pick them at various stages of ripeness. (The resulting peach crisp tasted very good.) I need to do better about setting up a consistent time to write, preferably early morning. See you next time. How was your week?

This post is part of the My 500 Words Challenge. The idea is to develop a sustainable habit by writing 500 words every day. Want to join in or learn more? Visit the My 500 Words community.

Total for the Challenge6708

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebrate The Small Things - 5 September #CTST

It's Friday and time to Celebrate The Small Things (or big things) that happened this week.

The big news is that I've contracted with voice actor Caprisha Page to produce an audio version of Last Request. We're planning a release later this fall. What better time to listen to a tale of a crypt and a beheading? I was surprised how quickly I found a narrator. I had expected to wait around for weeks then go out begging. Instead, I had an audition within twenty-four hours. Has anyone else done an audiobook?

Received a great review for Last Request this week on Amazon. Those positive reviews from people you don't know are always gratifying. I'm approaching the end of my second week of the My 500 Words Challenge. I've slipped a few days but I'm generally keeping up the pace. Could do better. At least it's driving me to finish rewriting a fae tale that I hope to publish this fall.

Keep writing and keep hoping. What are you celebrating this week?

Want to join in the fun that is Celebrate The Small Things, sign up here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Word of the Week: Churl

Anglo-Saxon churl plowing a field, 9th century.
Some words lose their respectability over time, declining from a non-pejorative designation to the level of insult. Churl, and its adjective churlish, is just such a case. In Anglo-Saxon times, a churl was a man. It soon took on a more precise definition, meaning a freeman of the lowest rank, a non-servile peasant. Rank played an important role in Anglo-Saxon society. The wergild (the price paid to the relatives of a murder victim) was fixed according to rank. For a thegn—an aristocratic retainer of a nobleman—the wergild was six times higher than that of a churl. Knowing the rank of the person you were skewering with a spear was important. Over time, the meaning had less to do with a precise rank in society and meant simply a common or country person of low birth, the opposite of nobility and royalty. Sometime during the 1300s and 1400s, the word assumed a negative connotation as rude manners was added to low birth. By the late 1500s, the word farmer replaced churl and husbandman as the term to denote someone who works the land. Churl was clearly on a downward slide. It hit bottom by the nineteenth century when the pejorative meaning—a rude, ill-bred, lout—that we're familiar with today became common.

Churl comes from the Old English ceorl, which derives from the Proto-Germanic *kerlaz and *karlaz. It has cognates in various Germanic languages including Old Frisian zerl, Dutch kerel, German kerl, and Old Norse karl. The Old English version of churlish is cierlisc.

The ChurlsAnd here's a bit of music trivia. A rock band based in Toronto during the late 1960s called themselves The Churls. They released two albums in 1969: The Churls and Send Me No Flowers. Neither album proved very successful. The band appears to be making a reference to the word's original meaning. Notice the medieval style costumes on the album cover. Did they dress as Anglo-Saxon churls for concerts?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Post #6

It's the first Wednesday of the month again. Time for another IWSG post.

I'm not feeling so much insecure this month as terrified. Public speaking scares me, and that's exactly what I'm signed up to do in less than two weeks! Aaaiiieee! I agreed to lead a fiction writing workshop at a writing conference. Fortunately they're not paying me. I wouldn't be able to handle the stress otherwise. I alternate between paralysis and frantic planning, between this is a great opportunity to what was I thinking. My nightmare is that I'll be done talking in five minutes, that no one will ask any questions, and I'll stare out across a sea of bored faces with nothing to say while the clock ticks backwards. I think that's the worst case scenario. Well, if you don't hear from me next month, you'll know the conference was a disaster and I've decided to become a recluse.

How about you? Have you ever been on the lonely side of the podium at a conference?

Until next month, keep writing.