For your vocabulary

PenultimateWe heard a word being used and thought we knew the meaning. However, the Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, looked up the word to know for certain.

The word is penultimate, meaning next to the last or the one before the last — such as the penultimate chapter in a book or the penultimate act in a play.

The word was first used in the late 17th century and comes from Latin paenultimus, from paene (almost) + ultimus (last). It is a great word to use when you write and want a phrase other than “next to the last.”

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Interesting word in the news


The recent news of consumers threatening to boycott certain stores or businesses because of political frustration led us to look up the word — not because of its meaning but to understand its origin.

We were surprised to find that the word boycott, now written with a lower case “b,” originated during the Irish Land War in the fall of 1880.  At the time, tenant farmers in rural Ireland had a poor harvest and were seeking to pay lower rents.

According to the blog of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Irish Land League was working for better conditions for the farmers and using tactics to push back against the landlords and their agents.  Captain Charles C. Boycott, an agent for one of the land owners, refused to meet the terms of the farmers and the league and became the focus of tensions.

When conditions reached a boiling point, almost every servant or farmer at the estate  where Boycott worked was driven off and told not to come back. Newspapers retaliated and urged the public shunning of landlords and their agents. Boycott was unable to find workers to work the harvest, businesses refused to sell to him and his area community shunned him. By December 1880, the Illustrated London News noted that to “Boycott” had become an active verb, meaning to intimidate or “to taboo.”

The word and the action represented were adopted by other European languages, including French boycotter (1880), German boycottieren (1893; now boykottieren), Dutch boycotten (1904), and Russian bojkotirovat (1891).


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Words on Writing


 Your dog sitting on your computer is not a valid excuse for not writing!

The Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, often is asked about how to go about writing. The question usually comes from people who want to write a book but don’t know how. She says that the answer is simple: You put fingers to keyboard or take a pen or pencil to paper and just write. It is the only way to achieve your goal, whether it’s writing a book, a short story, a poem or an essay — or whatever your written goal is.

Being prepared is important, of course. Maybe you’ll want to take a class or classes in creative writing or conduct research on your subject or brush up on your grammar.

However, the Editorial Assistant believes that too many people get caught up in “a process” of writing and ignore the obvious — taking action and writing. Even if it’s awful writing at first, writing only gets better by doing more. The “process” won’t do it for you. But a delete button to remove unwanted words or sentences will. That’s the “just get writing” advice we’re giving you.

Some of the best-known writers agree. At, you’ll find an interesting slideshow featuring quotes from well-known writers on how to write. Take their advice to heart and go!

Here’s the link — — for words of inspiration.


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Are you sentimental?



Have you thought about the words that express our feelings?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary has compiled a list of “mushy words” that  are a perfect fit for this week of hearts and love.

Included in the list from Merriam-Webster is the word sentimental, which has its origin in the Latin word sentire, meaning “to feel.” If you are a sentimental person, then you may have strong feelings of love or sadness which may seem excessive or even foolish to some people.

Check out a few more of these words, including chocolate-box, cloying and crush, to know more about the meaning and origins of the words of love in our vocabulary. Visit to boost your “mushy” vocabulary.

(Illustration by hyena reality,







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Ready for Paris!


I’m going to Paris. Get your TKT and come with me!

“Lady Louise, Adventures in Paris” is nearing its official launch, and we are making the book available for pre-order online at

Our Paris adventure features delightful color illustrations by Maureen Broussalian, America’s Favorite Poodle Artist.

And thanks to Mary Plumstead of Creative Sidekicks in Atlanta, the book is being formatted and will be printed at the end of the month.

However, we have an important announcement to make. Along with your pre-order, you will receive a special addition to the series — a passport-type book known as “The Ticket.” It is abbreviated as TKT and stands for “The Kindness Tour.” It is free with the pre-order through March 31. After that, it will have a nominal fee.

The TKT’s inside pages will feature a signature sticker for each book, along with space for readers to write about their experiences on their travels with Lady Louise.

Doesn’t this sound like so much fun!

On the Lady Louise adventures, readers will have the opportunity to learn about the manners and the history of other countries and famous cities. You will become an ambassador for kindness with me. And if there’s one thing that the world needs more of, it’s kindness!

We invite you to get The TKT and travel the world with me, Lady Louise.  It’s as easy as a quick click away.

Visit my Web page at to know how you can order Book 2 and begin the adventure of a lifetime! Or, if you are already a Lady Louise fan and want to pre-order your book now, just click the link below. The price of $25.99 includes shipping and handling!

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Lady Louise Is Speaking!


 You still have time to write your own Valentine’s Day card!

 I know that many of you think that I have fallen off a cliff. I have not spoken in too long of a time.

But I had a very serious discussion with the Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, this past weekend and told her a thing or two — kindly, of course, since I am the Queen of Kindness in my books. I mean, barking will not always accomplish what you want to change.

And with Book 2, “Lady Louise, Adventures in Paris,” getting ready to make its debut, I will have much to say and do. Did you hear that, Editorial Assistant?

Many of you will be shopping today and tomorrow for Valentine’s Day cards. By doing so, you will be participating in a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Taking pen to paper to express one’s thoughts of love and romance may have started when Saint Valentine — sentenced to die — sent a letter to his jailer’s daughter. No doubt that was a short-term romance.

In 1415, Charles Duke of Orleans wrote a poem to his wife when he was whiling away the hours in the prison of the Tower of London. The poem is the oldest surviving Valentine and is housed at the British Library in London.

Valentine’s Day cards have evolved from the handmade cards of the Victorian era to mass-produced greeting cards. Of course, technology has made it even easier by offering online cards. Have we completely lost the art of writing a personal Valentine’s Day card?

This year, try taking a pen to paper and creating your own card. We bet the result will be lovely and greatly appreciated!

Check in tomorrow: I will be speaking again. I hope that the Editorial Assistant has received the memo on this!


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