Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop Winner!

I had a really hard time choosing a winner for this since they were all so great - and I really mean that.  I had a blast reading about all your heroes and getting to know them.  In the end, I ended up putting my top five in a hat and letting my daughter pick one.

So, my winner of the Oh, My Hero Blog Hop is...

Frost Lord a.k.a. Tyson!

His hero, William, was very romantic, funny, and heck, look at him below...swoonworthy is an understatement.  I'd love to read more about him!

In case you missed it, you can read all about William here.

Tyson has won either an ebook up to $15 or a custom blog header (which I doubt he'll use since he's got such a cool one going for him already).

Be sure to check out Victoria's Blog to see who her winner is!

Thanks so much for everyone who participated!  And keep your eye out - after this very successful hop, it's been requested we do one that highlights our heroines.  :D

Also, while you're here, be sure to check out our new group blog, NA Alley! We have a great launch giveaway going on during the month of May and lots of great stuff to check out!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Z - I've got Zilch...I'm gonna Zonk out and catch some Zzzzz's

...As in lots of possibilities for how the word Zilch came to be.  You didn't think I'd let you down, did you?

Copied From:

1.  I've got zilch

Meaning:  nothing.

It appears first in print in the mid 1960s (the first example in the big Oxford English Dictionary is from a slang collection at the University of South Dakota dated Winter 1966).

Some reference books suggest the Ballyhoo humour magazine, first published in 1931, was a possible source. This had as one of its characters a Mr Zilch (actually there were several of them: the front page of the first issue advertised “President Henry P. Zilch. Chairman of the Board Charles D. Zilch. Treasurer Otto Zilch”). The character was not actually pictured in cartoons in the magazine, but was obviously present, so he was “the little man who wasn’t there”.

This name may have come from college slang of the 1920s, in which Joe Zilsch was the archetypal average student — the average Joe, in fact, marching in the same column as Joe Blow, Joe Doakes and the more recent Joe Sixpack. That sense is still around and sometimes used in the same way as John Doe, to refer to an individual who is otherwise unidentified. In the 1920s, however, Joe Zilsch could also be an insignificant person or (in modern terms) a loser. The spelling suggests a European origin (and Zilsch is a real German surname of Slavic origin). The name was probably borrowed with zero and nil in the back of the creator’s mind.

But the years between the 1930s and the 1960s are a complete blank as far as the development of the word is concerned, so we have no way of confirming that this is the source. Indeed, the long gap might be indirect evidence that it isn’t. Alas, etymology is not an exact science, so this is yet another occasion on which I just have to say “Origin unknown”.

These aren't origins so much as hypotheses and suppositions, but...

2.  I went home and zonked out.

Meaning:  to put in a stupor, pass out.

Origins:  from 1950 it meant to hit hard, used in comics (onomatopoeia), and then, later, it meant to put in a stupor, as in we were hit hard and we zonked out.  

3.  I'm going to go home and catch some zzzzz's.
Meaning:   went to sleep and snored.

Origin:  used in comics, derives from the sound of snoring with it's regular coarse vibration inspiring the common metaphor of "sawing logs" in ones sleep. The 'Z' represent the tooth pattern of a saw or the saw-tooth sound wave corresponding to the sound of snoring. 

And can I just say ZOMG, I DID IT!

Thanks to everyone whose stopped by...hopefully not for the last time.  :D

Look for the winner of the Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop later today!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Y - Yellow journalism, Year one, You could have knocked me over with a feather...

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "Y" and let me just say, there are almost no origins for Y idioms and I was getting peeved trying to find some.  Yellow bellied?  No one know how yellow came to represent cowardice (although one hypothesizes that it's derived from stomach bile, but could be a derogatory term - no thanks); You can't teach an old dog new tricks?  Well, duh, if you want to train a dog, you have to do it while they're young because they get stubborn as they get older, just like people...and I should know.  Anyway, I spent over two hours trying to find some, and I just didn't. get one origin, one distinction between two similar phrases, and one just silly imagery.  It'll have to do.

1.  Fox News:  Yellow journalism at its finest!

Meaning: Journalism in which sensational stories are used to boost sales, or biased reporting is used to change the reader's views on an issue. Both of these are unethical.

Origin:  Americanism.  The phrase originated in the 1890s to describe the tactics used in competition by William Randolf Hearst's New York Morning Journal, and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World newspapers. It started when one of Pulitzer's cartoonists got famous for his comic strip called "The Yellow Boy". Hearst then secretly hired this cartoonist to draw for his newspaper, causing a furious rivalry between the two newspapers. This rivalry caused so much attention that it sparked the name "yellow journalism".

2.  People have been interested in the stars and the moon since the year one.

Meaning:  a very, very long time.

A distinction:  To say this doesn't necessarily mean the first year, but just when you reference something from a very long time ago.  "The year one" is American English, while the British and Australians tend to say "The Year Dot," as in:  There have been people living in Australia since the year dot, but Europeans have only been there for about two hundred years.

3.  I was so surprised you could have knocked me over with a feather!
Meaning: surprised.

A thought:  How funny is this image?  We know feathers weigh nothing, but the idea is that you're so disoriented and off your game by shocking news, that even a feather could come right up and knock you over is baffling and funny at the same time.  It's like in those cartoons where the feather is the very last thing to land and push something over the edge or knock something over.  Silly. 

Note:  I am so sorry I'm five days behind on commenting, but I plan to get caught up this weekend.  I do appreciate everyone whose been commenting.  Really.  :HUGS:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

X - The X-Factor..and the Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop!

1.  My hero has a major X-factor that drives the ladies on campus wild. 

Meaning:  the unknown quality of something or someone that makes it or them special, mysterious, etc…

Many heroes in books have that X-factor that makes them desirable and...well, hot. 

And speaking of heroes (like that segue?) it's Oh-My-Hero! Blog Hop Day!  WOOT-WOOT!

Yes, this is mine and Victoria's blog hop where you've been asked to post a picture of your hero and interview them, then hop around and read everyone's interviews. 

Victoria and I decided to do a joint interview with our heroes, just to spice things up a bit. it is:

VictoriaHello, everyone out there in the blogoshere! Jaycee and I would like to thank you for joining us here today to meet the two hot heros from our novels.  Today we have the swoontastic and deliciously mysterious hero Luca Grinaldi joining us from my novel The Crimson Hunt.
JayceeAnd we have my equally delicious “bad boy” hero, Ian Hollister, from my novel The Truths about Dating and Mating.
VictoriaIan and Luca, thank you for joining us today.
JayceeYes, thank you.
LucaHello, and thank you for allowing me to be here.
Ian:  Yeah, thanks.
VictoriaOkay on to the questions boys, how would you describe yourself in one word?  You first, Luca.
Luca::thinks for a moment::  I find this question…rather difficult to answer.  For how one sees oneself does not matter.  It is the impression one makes on the world and how one treats others which is the most important, but if I had to answer I suppose I would consider myself logical.  Logical is my word. 
 JayceeThank you.  And how about you, Ian?
 IanIs badass one word or two? 
 Jaycee:  ::shrugs::  One works for me.
 VictoriaOkay, next question.  How would you describe your heroine?  How about you first this time, Ian.
 Ian::grins::  Ivy?  Ivy’s incredible.  She smart, fearless, and tons of fun to hang out with.  If you’re her friend, she’ll be your biggest cheerleader.  She’s loyal to a fault, even when you don’t deserve it, and I include myself in that lot.  She… ::brow knits as he gets serious::  She’s always been there for me.  Always.  In fact, there’s very few childhood memories I have without her in them, and the ones I do aren’t worth mentioning.  She’s the only person in my pathetic, fu--screwed up life that made getting through the days bearable.  Ivy’s special.  ::clears throat; shifts uncomfortably, then smirks::  And she’s cute, too.
 Jaycee::Smiles::  She sounds like quite a person. 
 Ian:  She’s the best.
 Victoria::makes Aww face::  Luca?
 Luca::Quirks a small smile in the corner of his lips::  Ariel is a rather interesting woman.  She is actually the only woman I have ever been around that flusters me.  I have yet to figure out why this is, but she does.  As far as describing her, that would take me a great deal of time.  If you are looking for a physical description, I could do that, but I feel the qualities that make Ariel unique are not so simple.  She is very kind and very grateful for everything she has.  She sees the world in a beautiful way and in return the world reacts to her.  She warms it with her light…her spirit.  It is hard to describe.  It is almost as if she creates a balance just because she is near.  Does that make any sense?  ::he looks up, noticing he’s looked down.  Almost lost in his thoughts::
JayceeMakes sense to me.
VictoriaOf course.  ::stares doe eyed::
IanWell, this has gotten a little deep.  Bring on something a little more fun.  I can see something naughty there lingering in your eyes, ladies. 
Victoria::stops mid-giggle.  Clears throat::  So, Luca, next question for you.  ::She leans in close::  Do you believe in love at first sight?
Luca::Puts fingers to the curl of his lips::  I believe anything is possible since transferring here.  ::smiles warmly.:: 
Jaycee::smiles, charmed.:: 
Victoria::fans out shirt::  Ian?
Ian: Not even a little bit.  One look and bam! You’re in love?  No way.  That’s lust; a pure chemical reaction.  Love -- deep, all-consuming love-- takes a lot longer to develop, and is done with every part of you:  your heart, your head, and your soul.  What you see is irrelevant.
JayceeAlrighty, then.  Next question, what is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  Ian, how about you take this one first?
IanHer curves.  I can’t stand stick figures.  Not to get all poetic, but a woman with curves is a work of art.  She’s gives a man something to hold on, something substantial to hold close.  I like curves.
:: Jaycee and Victoria both study their curves::
Luca::  I can definitely respect Mr. Hollister answer, but for me, I believe it is the eyes.  They really are fascinating.  They tell so much about a person.  A flicker or a glance could mean so many things if you look deep enough and when they are bright and full of life, like the color blue for example, they can be quite intriguing. 
Ian::shrugs::  I’m a fan of big brown eyes, myself. 
Jaycee:  ::Melts inside and opens eyes a little wider so Ian can notice their brown coloring.::  
 VictoriaOkay, guys.  Our audience is dying to know.  What is your idea of the perfect date?
 LucaMy job does make dating to be quite difficult...  ::His eyes slightly shift.::  With the time commitment and all, of course, but I did take Ariel to a small café once.  The light was warm, the mood magnificent…but I really believe that the perfect date is one in which the person you are with is never happier.  This is what is most important.
 JayceeWow ::sighs::  Ian?
 Ian:  ::scoffs::  I don’t date. 
 Ian:  ::shrugs::  The closest I come to dating are the nights I spend the Ivy.  Heck, that’s way better than dating.  There’s no need to be this guy everyone seems to expect me to be.  She already knows who I am and what I’m all really about, so I can relax and just be me. What’s better than that?
 JayceeSounds like a great way to spend time to me.  Okay, next:   who’s is your favorite comic book character and why?  Ian?
 IanI’m a fan of Spiderman, myself.  I relate to his story the most.  He’s a nobody, then one day something happens to him, something out of his control, and suddenly he’s given all this power he’s never had before, and he had to decide what to do with it.  Yeah, I can relate.
 Victoria:  Very awesome, Ian.  Luca?
 LucaThough I do believe that comic books provide little functionality beyond leisurely enjoyment, there is one hero I do hold in high regard.
 VictoriaOh, and who would that be?
LucaSuperman.  He has been forced to live in a strange world all while at the same time holding the weight of its safety on his shoulders.  I have respect for this. 
JayceeThank you, Luca.  Okay, we have time for one last question for the both of you.  Luca, what do you value the most in a potential love interest?
Luca:  ::Thinks to himself for a moment.  Looks up slowly::    Trust.  Trust above all else.
Ian:   He took my answer, so I’m going to go with my number two, which is almost as important as trust:  honesty.  Be honest about who you are and what you want, and you’ll get the same from me. 
VictoriaGreat.  Thank you so much for joining us today, guys.  I’m sure our audience has really enjoyed getting to know you two.  As well as Jaycee and myself.  ::Grins::
JayceeYes, thank you.  I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know the both of you better, and have to say, I’m a little surprised by some of your answers.  In a good way.  A very good way. 
LucaThank you.  It was great to be here today and discuss with you lovely ladies.  I did indeed enjoy this session.  :: kisses Victoria’s hand and then Jaycee’s::
Victoria::Melts a little bit inside::
IanAnd thank you, ladies. 
JayceeNo, thank you.
VictoriaNo problem, Ian.  And thanks again for joining us.  

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out all of the other participants and their luscious heroes.  :D

Just a note:  Victoria will be out of town for the weekend, so we'll be announcing our winners early next week.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

W - Washing my hands of, Wears his heart on his sleeve, Wet behind the ears.

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "W".

1.  I’m tired of arguing with Jocelyn over our science project; I’m washing my hands of the whole thing.

Meaning: to withdraw or end one’s association or responsibility for something.

Origin: The expression comes from the Bible, from the 27th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

The governor (Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor in Judea) again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified." And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified." So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."

When you “wash your hands of something,” you’re not actually at a sink with soap and water. You’re just saying that it’s not your responsibility or you don’t want to be involved further.

2.  Everyone in school knows Mark is in love with Andrea, because he wears his heart on his sleeve.

Meaning: to show one’s emotions and feelings openly.

Origin: William Shakespeare used this in Othello around 1600. In those days, it was the custom for a young lady to tie a ribbon around the arm of her boyfriend. The boy then wore the favor on his sleeve, one of the most visible parts of his clothing, to display the feelings of his heart for all the world to see. Today, the feelings that you reveal by “wearing your heart on your sleeve” are often of love, but could be other emotions, too.

3.  Eliza wouldn’t promote Elsa to manager because she was still too wet behind the ears.

Meaning: young, inexperienced, and immature.

Origin: when a baby colt or calf is first born, it’s wet all over with birth fluid. It quickly starts to dry, but the little indentation behind its ears stays wet the longest. Farmers always knew this, but some word experts think that in the early 20th century, officers in the American armed forces began saying this barnyard expression to describe new solders who still needed their mamas to wash them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V- Vis-a-vis, Vote with your feet, nothing Ventured nothing gained

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'V' (it's starting to suck to find idioms for these - I'm just sayin'.)

1.  Did you get the memo on the new policies vis-a-vis warehouse purchases?

Meaning:  Literal:  face-to-face; Figurative:  In relation to/with regards to.

Origin: This is borrowed from the French language, and literally means face-to-face.  It's been in use since the mid 18th century, is used in both literal and figurative contexts, and the usage of both were established by author and politician Horace Walpole.

In his “Letter to George Montague” (1753):

"He was walking slowly in the beau milieu of Brentford town, without any company, but with a brown lap-dog with long ears, two pointers, two pages, three footmen, and a vis-a-vis following him."
In this case, he was talking about a small, two seater carriage in which passengers sat face to face. It was later meant to apply to any person or thing that was sitting across from one another. Then, Horace changed his own meaning in November 1755 with his ‘Letter to R. Bentley’ to the meaning we have mostly held onto with: 

"What a figure would they make vis-à-vis his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence."
Related: If you frequent square dances, you are likely to find yourself 'vis-à-vis' with your partner. When the dance caller shouts out do-se-do ('do si do') you had better turn around, for what he really means is 'dos-à-dos' - in the original French 'back-to-back'. Dos-à-dos was employed as widely as 'vis-à-vis' in the 19th century, being used as a name for carriages, duelling partners - anything in fact where the participants are back to back.

2.  When the price of concert tickets nearly doubled, music fans voted with their feet and boycotted the event.

Meaning: To show your opinion of something by acting in a certain way, such as by buying something if you like it, or by not buying it if you don't like it.

Origin: Lenin, a Russian Marxist Revolutionist and communist politician, is said to have created the term in  1918 during WWI when he said that Russian soldiers have voted in favor of peace with Germany with their feet, since they were deserting in large numbers from that front line. This phrase was made popular by President Ronald Regan in 1976. 

3.  Go on and ask for that raise.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Meaning: If you don't try to do something, you'll never accomplish it.

Origin:  This old proverb states a commonsense truth:  if you don't make an effort - even though you may be risking failure - you will never reach youg goal.  Nothing risked or dared, nothing attained.  It has been said many different ways in history, though:

" You can't get anywhere unless you're willing to take a risk".Chaucer (c. 1374) and is similar to the late fourteenth century French proverb: Qui onques rien n'enprist riens n'achieva (He who never undertook anything never achieved anything) The proverb was included in John Heyword's collection of proverbs in 1546. First cited in the United States in 'Letters and Papers of Cadwallader Colden,'(1711[-1775]) published by the New York Historical Society in 1917.

Don't forget, the Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop, hosted by myself and Victoria Smith is coming this Friday!  There's still a chance to sign up!

Also, if you take a look at my sidebar-->  you'll see that a new blog all about New Adult Fiction is being launched on May 1st by myself and all my wonderful NA Sisters, whose links are below the snazzy button.  Be on the lookout.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

U - Upset the applecart, Upper crust and Upper Hand

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "U."  

1.  Don’t tell Joe about the ski trip or he’ll upset the applecart.

Meaning: to soil or interfere with a plan; to obstruct progress; to mess everything up by surprise or accident.

Origin: Comes from ancient Roman times, although the Romans just said “cart.” “Apple” was added in the late 1800s because it helped create a metaphor for ruining something that was carefully arranged, such as a large pile of apples on a cart. Along comes some clumsy oaf, he knocks over the cart and spills all the apples. The farmer’s plan to sell his apples is spoiled.

2.  The bad boy fell hopelessly in love with a girl from the upper crust.

Meaning: high society; social or financial elite; important people.

Origin: Used widely since the mid-1800s. The upper crust of a loaf of bread was considered the best, tastiest part, so “Upper Crust” came to mean the best class of people, the most elite in society, those with the highest intellectual, social, or economic status.

3.  Janel has the upper hand in her relationship.

Meaning: is in the dominant position. 

Origin: There are three theories of how this phrase came about. One is related to the game schoolyard kids play with a baseball bat before picking sides, putting their hands on top of each other until one of their hands is at the top of the bat, giving them the opportunity to choose first who will be on their team.

The next is the idea that the person whose hand is on top when a couple holds hands literally takes the upper hand, and is the dominant one in the relationship.

The third theory is related to upper crust, referring not to hands, but societal, social or economic status. Gary Martin from found an early example from: The English And Scottish Popular Ballads, collected by Francis Child and published by him in 1882. The ballad in question is Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, which Child believed to have originated around 1600:

"A grave, a grave," Lord Barnard cryd,

"To put these lovers in;

But lay my lady on the upper hand,

For she came of the better kin."

And can I just say Woo-Hoo!  I just finished writing my Z post tonight.  I am done!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

T - hanging by a Thread, Took the cake, Tip of the iceberg

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'T'.  Ooh, and look, pretty pictures with this one!  I actually studied the painting of Damocles' Sword in college, and icebergs are just so gorgeous.  Google "Iceberg" and hit images.  All these images of icebergs come up - all the beautiful blues and whites are almost hypnotic.  :D

1.  She’s not failing, yet. She’s just barely hanging by a thread.

Meaning: to be in a dangerous or unsafe position.

Origin: This is based on the tale of the sword of Damocles, which dates back to the reign of a Sicilian tyrant at the end of the fifth century, B.C. Dionysius II, the tyrant of Syracuse, had a courtier named Damocles who was more or less a professional flatterer. Damocles would lie around all day at opulent feasts saying nice things to Dionysius. He once commented about how great it must be to be king. So, Dionysius invited him to come sit in his thrown, which Damocles did. Dionysius made sure that he was well supplied with opulent food and great service and cute waiters and beautiful perfumes and scented candles going. Damocles was having a grand time, thinking the king’s life was the best, when he looked up and happened to notice that hanging above his head was a gleaming sword, suspended by a single horsehair. Damocles begged Dionysius to be allowed to leave the throne and to go back to his subservient position as a courtier. He obviously got the point, which is that anybody who gets to enjoy immense wealth, luxury and power also is living under a threat.

2.  I’ve heard a lot of stories in my time, but Steve’s really took the cake.

Meaning: to deserve the highest award or prize.

Origin: A cake has been a popular prize at contests for many centuries. In the time of the ancient Greeks, the winner of the cake was the person who could stay awake the longest at an all-night party. In the late 1800s in the U.S., the cake winners were the couple judged best in a dance contest (called a cake walk). Now, cake walks are a festival or carnival game (often at schools) similar to musical chairs, where you walk in a circle from numbered tile to numbered tile until the music goes off. A number is drawn at random from a bag, and the person standing on that number gets to take the cake being awarded for that round.

3.  When it comes to chemistry, learning the symbols for the elements is just the tip of the iceberg.

Meaning: just a small part of a larger problem or a worse situation.

Origin: An iceberg is a huge body of ice that has broken away from a glacier and is floating in the ocean. The “tip of the iceberg” is a well-known 20th century metaphor that points out that the top is only a tiny part of a mountain of floating ice. An estimated 90 percent of an iceberg is hidden under water.

Writer's Tool: Emotions and Facial Expressions Chart

I saw this posted on Romance Divas and thought I'd share - it's a great tool for writers!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Funnies to make you smile on your A-Z day off!

I just knew that theory about Druids sounded far-fetched!
I would have too if I'd been put in this outfit - but he is awfully stinkin' cute.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy Twilight.  This is just hilarious!

Fish says:  you mess with the bull, you get the horns!

Friday, April 20, 2012

S- Salt of the earth, Security blanket, Selling like hotcakes, Sets my teeth on edge!

Today's idioms are brought to you by 'S'.

1.  The whole family considers themselves the salt of the earth

Meaning:  a person or group considered to be the finest, most admirable and noble.

Origin:  For thousands of years, salt has been one of the most valuable, useful, and desired objects.  At one time, Roman soldiers were even paid part of their salaries in salt (proving they were "worth their salt" <-another idiom).  The expression is even found in the Bible (Matthew 5:13).  It is a metaphor that describes the finest people on earth as being as significant as the extremely important commodity of salt. 

2.  My daughter wanted to bring her Hello, Kitty doll to school.  It's her security blanket

Meaning:  a person or thing that an insecure individual holds onto for emotional comfort or psychological reassurance. 


<---------------- 'Nuff said.
(Yes, Charles M. Schulz coined the term.) 

3.  These cars are selling like hotcakes!

Meaning:  sell quickly, effortlessly, and in great numbers.

Origin:  In the late 1600s hotcakes (pancakes) made on a griddle were the best-selling items at fairs, benefits, and events.  By the mid-1800s the expression "selling like hotcakes" was transferred to any product that was being rapidly bought up by the public.  (I always wondered where these hotcakes were being sold from.)

4.  Listening to April's voice sets my teeth on edge.

Meaning:  to cause annoyance or discomfort to someone.

Origin:  You can find this saying in several places in the Bible.   But...have you ever bitten a piece of tinfoil?  Ever hear someone scratch their fingernails down a chalkboard while you were close by?  Ever listened to two cotton balls rub together?  You probably felt a sharp, shuddering feeling that made you gnash your teeth together, triggered a tingling sensation in your jaw, which stimulated your salivary glands, filling your mouth with saliva.  It's such a singular sensation that you don't easily forget it...and you're possibly feeling it now, just remembering what that feels like. I know I am.  :shudders:

LOL.  Okay, I'm sorry.  Don't hate me for leaving you with that sensation. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

R- Riot Act, Real McCoy, and Red Herring

 Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "R".

1.  When I saw that Persephone had colored on the walls, I read her the riot act. (Oh, and I did - I'm a mean mommy like that).

Meaning:  To severely scold or warn someone.

Origin:  In 1714 the British Parliament passed the Riot Act.  It said if twelve or more people gathered "illegally, riotously, and tumultuously," a magistrate could command them to break up and leave just by reading the opening words of the Riot Act.  If they didn't leave within the hour, they were guilty of breaking the law and were given a severe punishment.  As the years went by, "reading someone the riot act" came to mean warning a person of severe punishment in the strongest possible terms if he or she did not stop a certain activity. 

2.  That antique is a fake.  This is the real McCoy.

Meaning:  the genuine article; not fake or a copy.

Origin:  There was a boxer in the late 1800s who called himself Kid McCoy.  His real name was Norman Selby.  He was a great fighter and so popular that other boxers started calling themselves Kid McCoy.  So Mr. Selby had to bill himself as "the real McCoy."

3.  "What can you see in the tall, old tree" was a false clue in the scavenger hunt; a red herring to lead us off the trail.  

Meaning:  Something deliberately misleading to divert your attention from the main subject; something irrelevant that confuses an issue.

Origin:  A red herring is a fish that has been pickled in such a way that it turns reddish (due to vinegar and spices).  It has a very strong odor.  Centuries ago, red herring was used to teach hunting dogs to follow a trail.  It was dragged on the ground and the dogs followed its scent.  Later, people who hated hunting dragged a red herring across the path of the fox the dogs were chasing, confusing the dogs.  They would stop following the fox, and follow the smell of the herring.  Sometimes escaping crooks also used red herrings to coverup their own scents so the blood hounds couldn't find them.  "Red Herring" has been a popular term since the 19th century.

And the winner is...

The winner of a free copy of Nether Bound is:

Blandy Jean!

You can thank one of my students.  I assigned you all a number and let him pick out of a paper bag.

Let's give a big congrats to Blandy Jean! 

Please send me your email address so I can pass it on to the author, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read about Bonnie's book, her interview, and leave her a nice comment!  I know she appreciates it. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Q - On the Q.T., Quick as greased lightning, Quick on the draw

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter "Q." My apologies.  I'm a little behind on commenting on peoples' posts.  I will do my best to get around to your blogs as soon as possible, but I've hit a writing groove, and need to strike while the iron is hot.  Wow,  I'm just full of idioms this week.  Talked with my CP on Skype last night and I kept catching myself using them.  The sad part is that the only funny bone I'm tickling is my own.  <--Oops, I did it again.  And do you know why they call it the "funny bone?"  Because it's humerus - Ba-dum-ching! - well, the humerus bone, actually.

1.  Jenny’s cat climbed up the tree as quick as greased lightning.

Meaning: very fast.

Origin: One of the earliest uses of the phrase “greased lightning” was by an English newspaper, The Boston, Lincoln, Louth & Spalding Herald, on January 1833: “He spoke as quick as ‘greased lightning.’ Lightning is known for its speed. Many people believe that lightning already travels at the speed of light, so greasing the lightning up isn’t going to help it go any faster. But they’re wrong – wrong, I say! (Sorry, I’m getting a little punchy, which makes me silly). Lightning travels substantially slower than the speed of light. That speed varies depending on atmospheric conditions. Thus, the phrase, “grease lightning” was used to indicate turning up that speed a few notches, by greasing it up to move faster – of course, getting the grease onto the lightning is the tricky part, which… yeah, no duh.

2.  Dana doesn’t know about the surprise party, so keep it on the Q.T.

Meaning: quiet; secret.

Origin: an abbreviation. In 1870 there was a popular ballad called “The Talkative Man from Poplar.” In one of the lines the word “quiet” was shortened to “q.t.” Some linguists believe this may have been used in earlier works, but after 1870 “on the q.t.” became a common phrase for “keep it quiet.” Similar: keep it on the down low (D.L.).

3.  She’s quick on the draw in Math, but slow on the uptake in Reading.

Meaning: ready, alert, and quick to respond or react; quick to grasp info.

Origin: In the American West of the mid-1800s many gunslingers prided themselves on how fast they could draw their pistols from their holsters and shoot. The idea of a “quick draw” caught on and was transferred to any kind of fast action, physical or mental, such as responding quickly, answering questions rapidly, or solving problems swiftly. Similar expressions are “quick on the trigger” and quick on the uptake.

Okay, how many of you are singing:  Greased lightnin', go, greased lightnin'...?
How many of you are singing it now that I asked?

(Or have no idea what I'm talking about b/c you're too young or have been living under a rock?)

I actually did the dance in my chair as I wrote this - yes, my name is Jaycee, and I am a dork.  :D

Interview with YA Author Bonnie Rae and a GIVEAWAY!!

Today I'm hosting YA Paranormal author Bonnie Rae, whose debut novel, Nether Bound, has come out this past weekend. One lucky commenter is going to win a free copy of this book (and you really want to - I was given an advance copy of this book to prep for the interview, and have been reading it since Friday and enjoying it very much.)

Seventeen year old Ava Walker has everything a girl could ask for. She's captain of the cheer squad, has tons of friends, and could easily have any guy she wants. Being popular is easy.

Lying about her entire life, on the other hand, isn't.

Since she was little, Ava has had a connection with the dearly departed. She knows seeing dead people is abnormal, but they never try to communicate, so she does her best to turn a blind eye. The older she gets, the worse her visions become. With more and more ghosts showing up, her secret is on the verge of driving her mad.

The only person Ava ever trusted is her best friend, Devon. Only, she hasn't really talked to him in years and lately he hasn't been acting like himself.

To make things worse, her evil stepfather, Mark, is hitting the bottle harder and harder. Ava hates the alcoholic psycho her mother married a few years ago. To him, beating women is a sport. Lately, the beatings are getting worse. Ava fears it won't be long before her mother is among the ghosts invading her life.

She wishes Mark would just die. When he suddenly does, her life changes forever.

Just when she thinks her family is safe, Mark shows back up.

Not all ghosts are silent, and dear old Daddy wants some serious revenge.

Be careful what you wish for …


Describe your heroine in three words.
Protector, Loving, Stubborn

Describe your hero in three words.
Devoted, Kind, Shy

What was your inspiration for Nether Bound?
I was tired of reading books about heroines who weren’t even heroines at all. They were just love struck girls who couldn’t function without their love interest. I wanted to create a strong female character, who, even though she’d been through a lot could remain tough. I want to show girls they can be strong and persevere even in the darkest of hours.

What was the hardest part of writing Nether Bound?
There is a scene that deals with domestic abuse. It’s a touchy subject, but it is a very real problem. I went back and forth on whether or not to include it because I didn’t want to lose readers or fans. In the end I went with my gut and included it. Nether Bound wouldn’t have been complete without that scene.

What made you want to be a writer?
Growing up I had a vast imagination as a child. Books and my cat were my best friends. As a teen I experimented with writing as a way to escape harsher realities. Writing literally saved my life in more ways than one. I wanted to be able to share my words with the world in hopes of maybe helping someone else. Once I penned my first novel there was never any going back.

What’s up next for you?
I am currently working on the second book in the Nether Trilogy which will be out in early fall of this year. I also go back and forth with a dystopian I have been working on for the past two years and hope to have it published in 2013.


Bonnie Rae spent her early childhood in the sunny state of California. At the time, she was an only child with a very large imagination. Thanks to her Grandmother, the love of reading books started at a very young age. Every walk to the grocery store meant an ice cream cone and a new Little Golden Book. Through books, Bonnie learned you could be transported into other worlds. The addiction was instant.

At age eleven, her grandparents gave her E.B. White's Charlotte's Web for her birthday. Even though she was completely grossed out when it came to spiders (and still is), Charlotte's Web fascinated her. A spider that was able to weave words and befriend a pig? Bonnie then realized not only could books provide imaginary worlds, they confirmed anything was possible. She might have only been eleven, but she knew writing was what she wanted to do.

She started her first set of novels at the age of sixteen and has been writing ever since.

Bonnie currently lives in California with her wonderful husband and two very spoiled cats.


Thank you, Bonnie Rae, for answering my questions! 

Purchase her book on Amazon here.  You can also check out her website and her blog.

And, remember everyone, a comment earns you a chance to win a free copy of this book!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

P - Pass the buck, Pen is mightier than the sword, Pulling out all the stops!

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'P."

1.  You have to make a choice. You can’t pass the buck on this one.

Meaning: to pass on or make another person accept responsibility or blame for something one does not want to accept for his or her own.

Origin: In a 19th-century American poker game, “buck” was a piece of buckshot (a shotgun pellet) or a pocketknife with a buckhorn handle. It was passed to you if you were the next dealer. By 1900, “passing the buck” meant shifting responsibility for something to another person. In 1949 President Harry Truman put a sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here,” which meant that he was accepting personal responsibility for all the decisions that needed to be made and all actions that needed to be taken; he was going to direct his problems to anybody else.

2.  I’d rather be a writer than a general because the pen is mightier than the sword.

Meaning: writing is greater than fighting. (DUH! I doubt many of us are going to disagree with this one).

Origin: First used in the 1600s. Started out as “the pen is worse than the sword.” History has shown that writers and statesmen using their pens have often had a greater effect on the course of events than military leaders and conquerors wielding swords. Think of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and other important writings that have changed the course of history more than wars have.

3.  Tonight, Jared is pulling out all the stops: candlelight dinner, violin music, champagne, the works! Then he’ll ask Sheila to marry him.

Meaning: to do everything possible to succeed; to do something as enthusiastically as you can.

Origin: this saying comes from the second half of the 19th century and refers to the workings of big organs. Church organs have many pipes that an organist played by pulling out knobs called stops. If you pulled out all the stops, you got the fullest, loudest, most ear-filling sound possible. That idea was carried over to other activities in life where one goes all out to succeed or enjoy an activity.

I haven't done a credit shout out in a short while, so once again, many of these are from: Scholastic’s Dictionary of Idioms.

Also, I've interviewed Debut YA author Bonnie Rae here on the blog today, as well.  Be sure to check out her interview and comment, as one lucky commenter is going to win a free copy of her book!

Doh. Embarrassing. And yet, cool beans!

This is way old but I only discovered it today-my head must have been in the clouds or something.  Mine is probably one of the groan-worthy ones.  I only vaguely remember entering when I first opened my account.  It was written off the cuff (<--see the idiom there, eh?), and I punctuated Jets wrong.  Now I'm the one groaning. 

Yeah, I'm embarrassed, but am trying to look on the bright side - don't know how many people entered, but my cheesy entry was notable enough to be mentioned:

Monday, April 16, 2012

O - On tenterhooks, On the Cuff, and Out in the boondocks!

Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'O'.
1. I've been waiting on tenterhooks to see if the editor liked my R&R enough to want to publish it.

Meaning: anxious, in painful suspense over how something will turn out.

Origin: In the 1700s a tenter was a frame for stretching newly woven cloth. The "tenterhook" was a hook or bent nail that held the cloth to the tenter. At that time a person who was worried sick not knowing the outcome of a situation was said to be "on tenters," meaning that their emotions were stretched out tersely. Later the phrase became "on tenterhooks," which expressed even sharper and more intense feelings.

2. I was a little short on cash, so I asked the bartender to put it on the cuff.

Meaning: on credit; to be paid later.

Origin: It is believed this expression came from the days where bartenders in old saloons wore stiff cuffs that detached from the end of their shirt sleeves. When customers wanted to pay for their drinks at a later date, the bartender often wrote the charges down on his cuffs. (Not to be confused with "off the cuff," which has to do with being impulsive.)

3. Angela lives way out in the boondocks.

Meaning: in a remote place; in rural regions; in sparsely populated areas.

Origin: Tagalogs, native Filipinos who live in or near Manila, the capital of Philippines, have a word in their language, bundok, which mean “mountain.” The US military forces stationed in the Philippines in the first half of the 20th century expanded the meaning of the word from mountain to any place that is far from heavily populated centers. It is often shortened to “in the boonies.”

Note:  Be sure to stop by tomorrow, not only for my P post (lots of good 'P' idioms - I have 7 I need to narrow down) but I'm also posting an interview of author Bonnie Rae, whose YA Novel, Nether Bound, has just come out!

7 Things About Me and a Couple o' Blog Hops

Okay, so almost a week ago, my NA Sister Bailey Kelsey tagged me to list 7 facts about myself.  I said I would do it yesterday, but I spaced it.  So bad.  Fail on my part.

So, really quickly, here are 7 facts about  me - all related to food, because I'm so dang hungry but don't want to spoil my supper!

1.  Phish Food Ice Cream (Ben and Jerry's) is the most wonderful ice cream in the world to me.

2.  I love raw oysters with lemon and hot sauce.

3.  I also love octopus and calamari.  Yummy.

4.  I'm having (mushroom-and-meat red sauce) pasta in a few hours and it smells so good, I'm climbing the walls.

5.  I had French-bread-French-toast and a ham steak for lunch today.

6.  And speaking of steak, I love steak! A medium rare Filet Mignon is my favorite.

7.  I've tried frog legs before.  Tasted like chicken.

Okay, now I'm supposed to tag 7 people...but all the people I wanna tag are doing the A-Z and probably don't want to have to do another post.  I'll allow you to tag yourself, if you're interested.  Maybe you can do it next Sunday, when you're not required to post.


Also, I've joined a couple of more blog hops for May (Why do I keep doing this to myself? LOL).

From Sara McClung's Blog:
The purpose: To get back in the habit of blogging by following a weekly schedule for the month of May. (Or if you already post regularly, to have an easy schedule to follow without having to struggle with deciding what to blog about.)

(And if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, who cares, yanno?)
What you DON'T have to do: Follow every blog that participates and comment on everyone's posts every day. This isn't a blogfest to gain followers--although maybe that will happen. And of course if you WANT to comment on everyone's posts, feel free. :) 

But really the point of this is to focus mostly on our own blogs and to write posts about things we're interested in that our followers will want to read about. 
The schedule: 

Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all! 

Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
Pretty self-explanatory :) Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or maybe they do. It doesn't matter--this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better. 

Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
Ask your followers something about themselves. 

Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who's fascinating. A character from a book. Anyone you want. :) Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative! Just let the spotlight shine on someone else. 

Fridays: May I share something funny?
Fridays = the starts of weekends! BOOYA. Reason to celebrate and laugh on it's own--plus, who doesn't want to see something amusing after a long week?

From Alex J. Cavanaugh:

First Loves Blogfest - on May 14, post your first loves – first movie, first song/band, first book, and first person. Four loves, one blogfest! 

(This is a nice easy one)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

N - No great shakes, Nothing to sneeze at, No dice

Welcome back to week 3 of the A-Z Challenge!  Today's idioms are brought to you by the letter 'N'.

1.  That restaurant was no great shakes.  

Meaning:  nothing extraordinary, mediocre. 

Origin:  This expression is used as early as the 17th century.  Lord Broughton, recalling an 1816 art show in his 'Recollections of a Long Life' , wrote: 'W. said that a piece of sculpture there was 'nullae magnae quassationes,' and the others laughed heartily.' The others, proficient linguists, got the joke immediately when they translated the Latin for 'no great shakes.'  Shakes, itself, is thought to refer to the shaking of dice.  Someone with “no great shakes” is someone who throws a low point, receiving no sevens or elevens.

2.  Getting second place is nothing to sneeze at!

Meaning:  something may appear modest or trivial, but it’s at least somewhat impressive in its own right.

The root of “sneeze” was the Old English verb “fneosan,” which meant “to sneeze or snort,” and came from Germanic root (as far back as 1400s).  “To sneeze at,” as is used today, first appeared in the early 19th century.  This form of contempt is a deliberate act, while sneezing usually isn’t.  That’s because sneezing, in this respect, refers back to the Old English reference of “snorting.”

3.  I wanted to borrow ten dollars, but Mom said, “no dice.”

Meaning:  No.

Origin:  This is a US phrase and originated there in the early 20th century. Gambling with dice was illegal in many states and so gamblers went to some pains to hide the dice when challenged by the police. Courts would sometimes throw out cases if the dice weren't offered in evidence. There are several court records where gamblers were alleged to have swallowed dice to avoid arrest.