Tag Archives: writing

REVIEW: Chaos– An Amissio Libra series novel # 1 by Totak H. Clymes

triquestrtaTotak H. Clymes is a one of the up-and-coming badasses of dark fantasy literature. Straying away from the usual refurbished creativity you are forced to endure, Totak has devised a brilliantly phenomenal world of fantasy, mixed with magic and unearthly morbid beings.

A spark of white, tinged with distinct blue mist, leapt along her arm and struck out against the creature. The spark collided with the Shade head-on. The creature writhed for mere seconds within the blazing illumination before being vaporized.

Although dark fantasy is not my chosen genre for reading, I found myself enthralled with this story! I truly enjoyed the fantastical ride that a group of strangers partake in the amazing effort to not only survive but to defeat the shadowed beings invading their world.

A terrible screech ripped through the forest. With a fierce wave of its arm, the Shadow let loose a massive wave of miasma and rushing darkness. The force tore across the mountainside without slowing. Trees were stripped of branches and thrown from their place, toppling over one another. Rock exploded from the ground, uprooted by the overwhelming force, and dirt evaporated in mid-air.

Two of the main characters in Amissio Libra: Chaos are Saikah and Nathresh. They have an amusing relationship to say the least.

Na’thresh then assessed Saikah whom he noticed, with a none-too-well hidden start of surprise, was pale as winter snow through and through. Her skin did not hold the same purity that captured the three siblings but was nevertheless a startling tone of sunless peach. Her hair fell in streaming locks of sterling and white-silver to the top of her perky buttocks, occasionally becoming caught under a hand or her legs when she shifted her sitting positions.

Other characters of the persevering team are Aru’ine, Cassandra and Citrine.

“Yes,” Aru’ine interrupted suddenly, a dark and accusative tone staining his words. He stood straight and ran a hand through his hair. Na’thresh met his eye and took a long moment to analyze the expression. Aru’ine was staring at him, not in anger or resentment, but with fear. “You arrived right when the Shades appeared.”

Totak’s writing impressed upon me a sense of rejuvenation in the world of literature. His writing style, which flows poetically and beautifully, is a reminder of what excellent writing should portray. Writing should leave a mark on your mind, a wondrous yearning to read more, to experience more of a writer’s universe. Unlike the occasional writing these days, Totak does not quickly type sentences to get through a scene. He chooses his words carefully, just as worthy writers from our past.

I know I am biased. I am constantly reminded that I am incapable of providing an objective review because, afterall, Totak is my husband. With that said, I urge you to read the first chapter and all snippets that I will post. I assure you, every word Totak has typed will be worth every second of your time.

Shapes glided along endless shadows at the base of trees lining the path to the cabin. Where one appeared, hundreds seemed to follow. For each shape, a new series of indistinct whispers and hisses broke against the deadly silence, but the forest remained quiet. A wail made of undulating, genderless tones filled the air, drowning even the myriad of hushed whispers. The moan distorted itself, creating sounds akin to an echo of a recording being played in reverse. It faded in and out, rising when the hiss of the slithering shapes receded, falling when they bolstered. Distinct, hollow voices emerged through the chaos.

In my conclusion, I will reiterate how fantastic this writing and book is. Totak has gone above and beyond the usual hogwash that is produced today. He is currently writing book two of the Amissio Libra series, Declina.

Read it. Love it. Ache for more!

~happy reading

Writing and Using Italics

Italics refers to the slanted type style used in writing. Writers use italics to serve a purpose, such as to emphasize a word or to reference bibliographic material. But while there are many instances when italics should be used in writing, there are also times when it’s better to avoid italics. Knowing the following five dos and don’ts of this important tool can help strengthen a piece of writing and make it look more professional.

When to Use Italics

  1. Do use italics when citing or referring to certain works and sources. Names of the following should appear in italics: books, magazines, journals, pamphlets, newspapers (but not the, as in the Washington Post), TV programs (but not specific episodes), modes of transportation (ships, planes, trains, etc., but not their modifiers) movies, paintings, plays, long poems and musical pieces, websites, blogs, albums, and compact discs.
  2. Do use italics for writing letters as letters, words as words, and sounds as sounds. Note the proper use of italics in this sentence: The letter a and the word betray rhyme. Sounds reproduced as sounds, such as brrr and aaah, should also be italicized.
  3. Do use italics for unfamiliar foreign words or phrases used within a sentence. But if the foreign word or phrase is repeated throughout the text, it need be italicized only the first time it appears. This rule does not include common foreign words that have become anglicized, such as ad hoc, cliché, et al., etc., laissez-faire, per diem, and raison d’etre. Further, don’t italicize entire sentences or passages that appear in another language or proper foreign nouns (unless they should be italicized according to Rule 1 above.)
  4. Do use italics for introducing key terms. When introducing key terms to be discussed in a paper or report, the terms should be italicized, but only when first introduced. After that, they can appear in roman.
  5. Do use italics to show emphasis. This is especially helpful if the sentence is confusing without the use of italics. Still, some authorities disagree with the usage of italics for emphasis in any context. Rosalie Maggio, author of How to Say It (Prentice Hall Press, 2002), says “Don’t do this; italics cannot replace the hard work of good writing.” Most style books, however, say it’s okay to use italics for emphasis, as long as it’s done sparingly. If inserting italics into quoted material for emphasis, be sure to let the reader know you put the italics there by including (italics added), placed after the quoted material.

When Not to Use Italics

  1. Don’t use italics when they’re already used in a sentence for a different purpose and when quotation marks will suffice. For example, a sentence containing a foreign word followed by its English translation should feature the foreign word in italics and the English word in quotation marks (i.e., She always says poulet for the word “chicken.”) But when a common foreign word is used in the same sentence as an unfamiliar foreign word, both should appear in italics for the purpose of consistency.
  2. Don’t use italics when referring to scholastic letter grades. Letter grades, unlike letters used as letters noted above, should not be italicized: I got an A in English this semester.
  3. Don’t use italics for a character’s thoughts. Many fiction writers are confused about whether to put a character’s thoughts in italics. The short answer is no, it’s distracting and unnecessary. Usually, it’s clear that the character is thinking, not talking, by the writer’s choice of words: He thought, Why should I care? A story written in the first voice doesn’t need thoughts set in italics since the reader knows the thoughts belong to the narrator. But for dream sequences and flashbacks, some fiction writers prefer using italics to differentiate the scene from the main story.
  4. Don’t use italics for block quotations (long quotations of more than 100 words or two or more paragraphs). Instead, indent the quotation and set it in smaller roman type.
  5. Don’t use italics to make your writing more decorative. Like fancy fonts, writing that appears in italics looks unprofessional and is more tedious to read. Stick with simple, basic roman type.

Punctuation with Italics

What about punctuation that appears after an italicized word or phrase? The rules for punctuation and italics are a little confusing. The traditional method, and the one explained in the classic style book Words into Type (Prentice Hall, 1974), states that “commas, colons, and semicolons are set in the typeface (italic or bold) of the preceding word. Quotation marks, exclamation points, question marks, and parentheses are set according to the overall context of the sentence.”

While the current Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press, 2010) acknowledges this traditional method, Chicago suggests that it be used, if at all, for print publications only. The better rule, according to Chicago and other more recent style manuals, is to put punctuation marks in the same font as the main text unless the punctuation belongs with the italicized word, such as a book title ending in an exclamation point.

Italics are an important tool for writers. Get to know the rules for using and avoiding them – and make your writing clearer and more professional.


Maggio, Rosalie, How to Say It Style Guide, Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press, 2002.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Ed.), New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.

Skillin, Marjorie J., et. al., Words into Type (3rd Ed.), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1974.

The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Ed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Thurman, Susan, The Everything Grammar and Style Book, Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 2002.
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Grammar Lesson … Dangling Modifiers

“Looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”

What is wrong with this sentence?

Perhaps you understand that the author was looking out over the ocean and that the author saw a dolphin jump out of the water. But the way that this sentence is structured, it seems as if the dolphin looked out across the ocean. Oops!

This type of sentence error is called a dangling modifier. According to Purdue University’s English website, OWL, “A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept.” Dangling modifiers can create confusion in sentences, so it is important that students identify them and understand how to correct them.

To correct a dangling modifier, you must insert the word that is not clearly stated. In the case of the above-mentioned sentence, the word that is not clearly stated is the author. To correct the sentence, the author must be included.

“Looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”


“While I was looking out across the ocean, a dolphin jumped out of the water.”

Much better! Try another one:

Feeling dizzy, the coach told her to sit down.

In this case, the player (in the sentence, “her”, is not stated in the dangling modifier. She needs to be mentioned.

Because she was feeling dizzy, the coach told her to sit down.


Can you fix these dangling modifiers?

1. Piled up in the sink, I knew the dishes were going to take forever to clean.


2. While walking, a car almost hit me.


3. Standing in the sun, the heat felt good.


4. Smiling and laughing, the photographer took the family’s photo.


5. Running to the soccer goal, the wet grass made her slip and fall.


6. While typing my paper, the computer froze.


7. Upon entering the office, the electricity went out.


8. Chasing my dog, she looked so happy!


9. Taking a deep breath, I watched her jump in the water.


10. After reading his paper, he got an A from the teacher.


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