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Happy National Grammar Day!

This video is a fun tribute to National Grammar Day.

Enjoy, all you grammarians, word nerds, English teachers, readers, and writers, and Scrabble players!

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The Year of Trust

Word for 2018

It’s that time of year . . . where people all across the globe are reflecting on the year that’s behind them and anticipating the new year that’s ahead of them. Wow, where did this year go? Truly seems like I was sitting on the couch only moments ago, wondering how 2018 would shape up. Guess it shaped up fairly well—we’re at the end of it now!

Now . . . as I sit at my computer on Christmas Day, listening to Mannheim Steamroller and reminiscing all that 2018 had to offer me, teach me, encourage me, and grow me, I sigh with satisfaction. Satisfaction that even through a rocky and unpredictable 2018, my chosen word of the year—trust—really guided me every step of the year’s journey.

The Trust Journey

From the train station to the plane station, traveling different modes of transportation allowed me to see the world from different viewpoints—and each one super special. Getting to talk with complete strangers about their jobs and their lifestyles helped me to appreciate people more.

Boston Countryside

From California to Boston, it was such a pleasure to meet so many new friends and catch up with old friends. In all, I traveled ten times, and each one a matter of trust because it was definitely an investment year for my writing and editing business.

From my home to others’ homes, the joy of spending time with people and sharing their daily lives is always a treat.

From being a guest on a podcast to giving two talks about self-editing at a writer’s conference, I had the privilege of getting involved in other writers’ lives and sharing the wonderful world of writing . . . and editing. Loved connecting with writers and talking about their books!

Big Apple in Michigan

From having no contract to securing a contract with a publisher, it was such a joy to see this process unfold. Years of hard work, prayer, and mountains of trust happened to get to this happy place! Sharing about this on the blog soon!

And with all the ins and outs of expanding a freelance editing business, more trust than I thought possible was required this year. But a-trusting we did, and seeing the results of blood, sweat, tears, and much prayer is so rewarding! I’m blessed beyond measure to serve the authors and publishers I work with. Truly it is a team effort to get books out into the world!

What Did Trust Mean For Me?

Throughout all of my travels and adventures this year, I learned to trust the process and the plan in each situation I found myself. Sounds easy? No, my friend, it was far from easy. But it was rewarding after I was able to look back and see how each step was laid out exactly as it was supposed to. Then the trusting was definitely worth it!

I’m starting to see a trend here though. 2017 was Adventure, 2018 was Trust, and 2019 looks like it will be either Encourage or Joy. Maybe the two will end up mixing? We’ll see! But the trend I’m seeing is that these words fit well together, as far as the lessons I’ve learned from each year’s events. Each year has built on the previous, but isn’t that life life though? We’re constantly learning, constantly growing.

What Am I Doing in 2019?

Well, here’s the working plan:

  • Give two talks on self-editing at FlourishWriters, a mega online writer’s conference. If you’d like more information, click here. Starts January 22!
  • Keep writing my second historical fiction (post-WWII) novel.
  • Work on edits from my first historical fiction (WWII) novel.
  • Attend a writer’s conference. Or two. Maybe more.
  • Continue to work with great authors. If you’re interested in any of my editing services, please visit my Editing Page to see how we can work together to make your manuscript shine! My 2019 calendar is filling up fast, so get in touch today to make sure your manuscript gets into the calendar!
  • Continue to bring you exclusive content that is helpful, beneficial, and enjoyable. If you have a topic or subject you’d like to see, please contact me, and I’ll see what we can do to deliver that to you!
  • Get excited and plan an anthology book launch, coming fall 2019! I’ll be sharing a post about that, but to keep in touch of the progress and to get in on launch goodies, sign up for my newsletter. Delivered only four times a year—and may or may not include a gift card!
Wishing You a Very Happy New Year!

In 2019, I want to continue to learn and grow and reach out to others.

How about you? What are your 2019 goals? Plans? Trips?
I’d love to hear from you!

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Editing the Dialogue

Tisha Martin vintage typewriter 1940s WWII reporter desk chair

This blog post first appeared on Almost an Author, June 22, 2018.

Many writers are introverts and don’t prefer to talk a lot. Some writers are extroverts and love to talk. For those, speaking isn’t hard at all and is as natural as brushing our teeth or tying our shoes. Even then, writing natural dialogue is a challenge sometimes. (However, writing dialogue is a topic is for a writing blogger on Almost an Author. This is an Editing blog post!)

If writing dialogue is hard, then perhaps editing dialogue is even harder. Where do you put the comma again? Before or after the dialogue tag? How do you format the quotations? Wait . . . what? I have to make my characters sound realistic without making them sound like they’re dumping information? How on earth do I accomplish that?

So . . . let me help clear the air, the pockets of confusion, the panic that’s probably constricting your chest right now. Below are three general rules for editing your dialogue so that your manuscript is clean, efficient, and your readers will fall in love with your characters. (Bold text has been added for emphasis. This does not mean publishers want you to bold these items. It’s merely there for your ease of reference. Please don’t bold anything in your manuscripts.)

Three Rules for Editing Dialogue

1. Insert double quote marks around the beginning and ending of the spoken portions within your story.

Double quote marks, or curly quotes, look like this:

Freddy, if we don’t get moving, it’s gonna rain on us.

There are double quote marks at the beginning of this dialogue and at the end of this dialogue. If your font has straight quote marks, be sure to keep them consistent. Nothing like inconsistency on something so small as quotation marks that sadly ruin a great reading experience!

2. Place the comma on the inside of the quote mark, before the dialogue tag.

As a contest judge and an editor, I constantly mark this common error in manuscripts (and published books!) I’m reading. Proper comma placement within dialogue looks like this:

“She’s a keeper, all right,” Hercules said, looking across the street.

Did you see the comma between the last word and the ending quote mark? Comma goes between those two elements, especially with a dialogue “tag,” such as said, stated, inferred, etc. Not after. Please.

3. Watch for inconsistent structure in dialogue.

Many times, I see beautiful dialogue, but the structure is wonky. When you have action beats and dialogue beats around a segment of dialogue, it can be tricky to know how to organize it. Try this method:

“I’m about as horse crazy as you are.” Susan winked. “When I was ten, my parents bought me a pony for Christmas.”

Notice the period at the end of the first sentence and then the quote mark. The action beat comes after. Then the dialogue starts up again.

But what if you want to include a dialogue tag instead of an action beat? Try this method instead:

Laurie wasn’t sure how sick she was, but Dad’s tone did make her feel sick. “Why do I have to go to the hospital?” she called, her voice cracking.

Notice the question mark goes inside the quote mark, followed by a lowercased pronoun and a comma after the dialogue tag and the exposition of how the character’s voice sounded. Please do not capitalize the pronoun after the character speaks. You want to keep good form.

Here are a few excellent resources for you in editing your manuscript:

  • Come to Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference, October 12-13, 2018, where I’ll be teaching two workshops on beginning editing and advanced editing. I’d love to see you there! You can register at Breathe Writer’s Conference. It’s in Michigan, and it’s very affordable!
  • Buy Kathy Ide’s book, Proofreading Secrets of Best-selling Authors, link to purchase from Amazon here. Or win a free copy at one of my Breathe sessions!
  • Buy Joyce K. Ellis’s book, Write With Excellence 201: A lighthearted guide to the serious matter of writing well—for Christian authors, editors, and students, link to purchase from Amazon here. Or win a free copy at one of my Breathe sessions!

I hope this helps you in knowing how to edit your dialogue, or at least some of it. I’m creating a session for beginning editors and advanced writers on editing, and they should be available by the end of the year. I’ll include practical advice that’s helpful and encouraging. Always looking for ways to help authors be able to write easier and not be super worried (maybe you’re not) about editing dialogue. Agents, editors, publishers, and readers just prefer a clean manuscript. And you can confidently give them one by learning these quick tricks!

Join in the discussion! I’d love to hear from you!

Take a few minutes and ruminate. What does your dialogue tell about your characters?

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D-Day Plane Takes Flight + Sundin Giveaway Winner

Sundin February 2018 Winner Announced

This article from The New York Times is perfect timing because today we’re announcing the winner of Sarah Sundin’s latest release, The Sea Before Us! Wow, I am so thrilled at the volume of entries and comments! Thank you for participating and for suggesting some really neat places to visit!

Two Alabama historians purchased a military transport plane that stormed the air on Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944. According to The New York Times article, Doug Rozendaal, the pilot in command for the test flight of “That’s All, Brother,” said every C-47 is unique. “It’s not really an airplane — it’s kind of a person, and you come to know each one,” he said in a video recorded before the flight.

You have got to check out this article! Look at pictures of the 1944 plane, watch a few engaging videos, and see what’s in store for That’s All, Brother!

Read A D-Day Plane Is Flying Again!

There were over 320 entries for Sarah’s latest novel. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their favorite place to travel.
The winner of The Sea Before Us is:

  • Judy M.

Congratulations, Judy! Enjoy your book!

Next month, we’ll interview Author Rick Barry and you’ll have the chance to participate in another book giveaway and learn of his recent success tied to this action-packed book. Stay tuned! I cannot wait to share!
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Blessing Jar 2018

Whew. It’s been a busy few weeks. 2017 ended with a huge roller coaster—and we kept dipping and sliding until we landed at soft bottom. Somewhat. Thankfully. As I look over 2017, I nod my head profusely because it’s been so full of adventure, trauma, and joy.

More about that in an upcoming blog “Tisha’s Word for the Year 2017” essay … patience—I’m still crafting  it!

For now, though, let’s look at this brand new year—2018—in a different light. Perhaps you’ve done this in some form or another, much like recalling a recited poem from childhood or keeping a family tradition; but I haven’t done this. Why, of course, I’ve kept a journal for years and noted answers to prayers or exciting things that happened each day.

But I’ve never filled a Blessing Jar. This should be fun!

Have you ever done something like this? I’d love to know in the comments…

Happy New Year to you!

Blessing Jar

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How to Be Thankful in a Ruined Thanksgiving


It was Thanksgiving Eve in 2004, and I was driving the thirty-minute drive home from work. Snowflakes started to flutter as I drove through town. By the time I made it to the highway, I could barely see in front of me. And I still had to drive through my small mid-western town and country roads.

sandra-frey-336993With dropping temperatures, snow, and now wind blowing the snow and increasing rain, we’d not have electricity at home for Thanksgiving meal. I called home on my cell.

No answer. Bummer.

Phone lines were down.

What usually took eight minutes to get through town and countryside too nearly thirty minutes. Slippery roads. One steering wheel jerk and I’d go flying or rolling through the bean field.

Much prayer later, I arrived home to discover no electricity. Well. That’s fine. We’ll eat bread and butter for Thanksgiving meal and really give thanks.

The feast that had been so rudely interrupted by the ice storm had to be covered up and set outside because it would spoil in the fridge with no electricity to preserve it.

thanksgiving-table-tisha-martin-author-editor-annie-spratt-215756My family scrounged the cabinets for something simple to throw together. We match-lit the stove and prepared a meal fit for a pauper: corn, rolls, green beans, mashed potatoes. Dad braved the elements and deep-fried the turkey.

Simplicity that year turned out to be the best Thanksgiving memory.

As a family, we huddled with blankets around our Thanksgiving table, lit by Grandpa’s grandpa oil lamp tisha martin author editor thanksgiving 2004kerosene lanterns. We thanked the Lord we had a house, our lives, and good food to eat. We laughed and joked about the weather and wondered how long we’d be snowed in, and who we’d see at the restaurant or grocery store in town when this storm finally blew over and we’d be able to travel again.

God wants us to find peace in the simplicity of life. Even if it meant freezing while thanking.

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Vintage Power: Women Workers


WWII women working together during hard times while the men were away. Don’t you just love the community spirit? Could you imagine hauling such a large chunk of ice? My soul!

As  Jerome K. Jerome says, “I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”


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In a world of fall color: give thanks

Fall is one of my favorite time of the year because it brings comforting things—coffee every day, thick sweaters, warm boots, evening reading with a flickering candle beside, and a season of thankfulness.

What and who are you thankful for? What do you enjoy about the fall season? I’d love to hear your comments!


Next month, I’ve got two great post #giveaway for you that you won’t want to miss! #amreading and #amediting … For the authors AND readers in your life! Just in time for the season’s shopping and fall reading!

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The Liebster Award — to encourage new bloggers

Leibster Award Tisha Martin Author Editor historial fiction new blogFirst off, I’d like to thank David Rawlings (click his name for his thought-provoking blog) for nominating me for the Liebster Award. David’s been such an encouragement to me, from the first time I met him at ACFW in 2016, in Nashville. We sat in a brainstorming group late at night, and he was the first to take interest in my plotting woes and help me work through them. I’m delighted to call him a friend.

The Liebster Award

This is how the Leibster Award works: it is an award given by bloggers to fellow bloggers and aimed to encourage writers. The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who has nominated you for the award and link to their blog
  • Write some random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
  • Nominate up to 11 people for the award (comment on their blog to let them know)
  • Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions

Random facts about myself:

  • I’ve trained three horses: a pony, a Paint, and a mustang Paint.
  • I was born premature and my parents were told my twin and I would be deaf and blind and unable to live a normal, regular life. I guess God had other plans.
  • I graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s in ten years, debt free.
  • I started working when I was 14. My first job was at a greenhouse which is my all-time favorite place to be. The beauty of flowers is so inspiring.
  • My desk is never clean and I sometimes know where things are. (Okay, I guess that isn’t a random fact…)
  • I’ve never broken any bones.
  • I secretly wish I owned Belle’s library, and as a child, I was secretly in love with Adam Cartwright from Bonanza. Some childhood dream, eh?
  • When I was a child, I was deathly afraid of the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
  • I started writing when I was the ripe old age of eight and I almost plagiarized. Well…I guess there’s nothing new under the sun, but if you’ll keep reading, you’ll understand why.

My 11 questions to answer:

Who were your favorite authors as a child? Why? 

Growing up on a farm, I enjoyed the outdoors as much as I could, but when winter shut me inside, books were my best friends. I spent many Saturday afternoons reading Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene, Trixie Belden series by Kathryn Kenny, and the High Hurdles series by Lauraine Snelling. I loved mystery and horses, and if it could be combined into one book then that was bliss. I could list lots more series but these were my favorite.

Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, and if so, where?  

Oh, what a question! I have always wanted to visit Germany and the surrounding countries for the historical buildings, beautiful mountains, and the un-sweet sweets. If you’ve ever sampled Deutsche Kuche Kässe, you’re missing out!

What is your favorite kind of weather?

My favorite kind of weather is a where the sun is peeking through the color on a crisp, fall day.

Why do you blog?

I blog because, like many other writers, I have time just sitting in a barrel waiting to be drawn up and used. 😉

What started you writing? 

I started writing when I was eight years old. I reinvented Little Women. The characters were now me and my three sisters. I wrote the six-page story on chunky-ruled notebook paper. It’s titled “Three Sisters,” and stuffed in my old journals in a box somewhere. What really started me writing was Tall and Proud by Vian Smith, and I wrote about it in another blog post. Vian Smith wrote with such honesty and vivid characters that I wanted to write like that. I created a story set in Nevada (Bonanza, anyone? 🙂 ) during the late 1880s. From there, it morphed into 16 hand-written books on college-ruled notebook paper and bound with pieces of ribbon. This series of books is now known as my work-in-progress, To Rise Up, set in the Midwest during WWII. Amazing how things change. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are the challenges of being an author/writer?

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Motivation only comes from within. People can encourage me all day long (which is very nice and I am thankful for that), but if I don’t actually sit down and write then I’m not fulfilling a worthy calling. To keep myself motivated, I have Pandora playing (usually music-only movie soundtracks and upbeat classical music, or Big Band if I’m really on a kick), or I scour Pinterest for inspirational photos of what I’m writing.

If you could choose a place to write where would it be?

A place where the scenery reminds me of a summery fall and where I can look out a window at beautiful, colorful leaves. Okay, just give me a mural.

What difference does it make being a Christian and an author?

Hmm, for me, there’s not much difference. I’m a Christian who happens to write. I’m thankful for the opportunity to write so that God can be glorified and others may be encouraged.

What’s your work in progress?

I have several works in progress.

  1. A WWII historical home front novel, To Rise Up that’s completed but in the last editing stages.Here’s the blurb:
    There’s more than just a war on—there’s a battle brewing between father and daughter. Sixteen-year-old Laurie goes against her father’s wishes, while battling her stepmother’s recent death and her own physical illness, to retrain retired cavalry horses for the war effort.
  2. A WWI historical home front novel that’s in the beginning stages of being written.Here’s the blurb:
    Caught in their wealthy uncle’s espionage ring, two brothers must fight to protect each other until lies and deceit drive them apart.

Who is your ideal audience?

My ideal audience likes to relate with somber topics with a twist of hope and humor to highlight that life is always on-the-go and something funny can always be found through it.

My ideal audience likes stories that are similar to movies such as…oh, dear, I can’t think of any comparisons, since I don’t usually watch that many movies. This will have to be a future blog post. Good motivation to come back!

My ideal reader is someone who:

  • loves the American home front during the world wars
  • struggles with family relationships and broken dreams
  • sees that God is all-present in their situation and is there to reach down and lift them up
  • wants to draw authenticity and depth of situations from everyday life in the lives of characters that could very well mirror their own
  • desires to see the splashes of humor in seemingly hopeless situations

So, my blog nominees:

Crystal Caudill, a fantastic historical romantic suspense writer, fellow writer, and prayer warrior. It’s great to go on writing retreats with her. (We fill up on enough tea to make a balloon swell.) Visit her blog The Write Call and sign up for her newsletter that’s sure to tickle your funny bone more than once.

Jessica Stefani is a historical fiction/time travel writer who has been instrumental in our Unraveling History Critique group. I’ve also enjoyed going to writer’s conferences with her. Hop on over to her engaging blog as she talks about writing, juggling the mom/writer life, and thought-provoking topics.

Cathryn Swallia writes historical fiction with humor, depth, and romance.  Also a key contributor to our Unraveling History Critique group, I have enjoyed her engaging comments and interesting information. You’ll really enjoy her blog, The Cooperjack Journal, filled with historical research information, animal tales, and inspiring life stories.

Please follow their blogs. You will be as encouraged as I have been encouraged. In laughter and inspiration. Happy reading!

Winners from the first giveaway post!! Drum roll please….

  • Judy G.
  • Susanne M.
  • Mary T.
  • Paula S.
  • Amy C.
  • Amanda M.

Congratulations, ladies! Winners have been contacted via email.

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Novel Research: Caring for Polio Patients

Tall and Proud book
The book that inspired it all.

I’ve enjoyed exploring YouTube for research information for my #WWII #HistoricalFiction novel in progress. Laurie Adams is a feisty sixteen-year-old who has her life planned. She’s going to retrain retired cavalry horses with her new stepmother. But sometimes life has different plans, and what we want isn’t necessarily what we need. Laurie’s blindsided when she contract polio.

Now she must fight for her health in hopes of reaching her dream.

Enjoy this video of a nurse caring for a polio patient. Laurie’s condition isn’t this severe, but it does put life into perspective when you see what some patients so bravely endured and conquered.

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