Class tomorrow! Independent and Dependent Clauses

One thing that I love about Stitched Smile Publications is how much we’re already setting ourselves apart. We offer Stitched Smile University: writing, editing, and publishing classes provided exclusively to authors and staff. I am excited to be teaching my first grammar class on Sunday the 10th on independent and dependent clauses! Here is a peek at what will be covered.


Most sentences are comprised of two parts: independent and dependent clauses. A clause must have a subject and a verb but does not necessarily have to be a complete thought. If it is missing a subject or a verb, it is just a phrase.

Independent clauses are the easy part; they can stand alone as a sentence.

John ate ribs.

Dependent clauses have a subject and a verb but don’t form a complete thought.

Until he was interrupted…

They depend on independent clauses to help them form a complete sentence. They often contain dependent markers, usually subordinating conjunctions, such as “since,” “unless,” “until,” “if,” “because,” “even though,” or “wherever.”

John still stood since the shot missed him.

Even though “the shot missed him” can stand alone, the addition of “since” makes the second clause dependent, and without that word, the sentence doesn’t make sense.

Connecting a dependent clause to an independent clause or vice versa is simple; use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, so, nor, for, yet) or an independent marker, such as “also,” “however,” “therefore,” or “furthermore.”

He turned toward the noise and dropped the rib.

Be careful with independent markers; if you use one to connect two independent clauses, you need a semicolon before the independent marker. Likewise, with coordinating conjunctions, you need a comma before the conjunction when joining two independent clauses.

Fresh meat had appeared; furthermore, it seemed to be frozen in fear.

Sometimes, you can connect a dependent clause with a comma. This is most commonly done with introductory clauses, a type of dependent clause.

When he was finished, John licked his lips.

Another type of dependent clause is a relative clause, which is an adjective clause that begins with a relative adverb (when, where, why) or relative pronoun (that, which, who, whom), has a verb, and functions as an adjective. Relative clauses function relative to the main subject of the sentence.

John was the last one that we saw moving.

This sentence uses a relative pronoun, “that,” to refer to what John is: a zombie. If he was a human, I would have written “who.” The verb is “saw.” The main subject of this sentence, John, determines the meaning of the relative clause. The whole relative clause is “that we saw moving.” It describes John from the perspective of “we” and further clarifies that there were more people like John but that none of them are moving anymore.

Independent and dependent clauses can be joined to form complex, compound, and even more complicated sentences. The possibilities are endless.

Fun Editor Name Puns

In talking with Donelle this morning, I realized a small theme of punny business names among some editors. Mine, for example, is By the Shore Editing. A good friend in the business is Monique Happy, who has her Happy Editorial Services. And my personal favorite from SSP’s Assistant Editor: Donelle Pardee Whiting’s Pardee Time Editing.

Rock on, ladies.

Romance in Horror

As someone who works mostly in horror, I often scoff at least a little when someone mentions romance since it usually brings to mind dusty volumes that use too many words to describe just about every body part, yet there are several love stories I would be delighted to spend a night with. In the cute, sad, gross, but a little funny February 2016 edition of The Brown Bag Stories by A.J. Brown, I found myself thinking of a few of them and how not every love story is necessarily in a romance book. I would recommend any one of the following to anyone who would listen, and I hope that more people come to enjoy them as well.

The first to come to mind is Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love by Mercedes M. Yardley. It is a love story of atomic proportions. Even if you’ve read this book before, I highly recommend reading it again. For me, the first time was a wonderful if chilling read. Reading it a second time was a magical experience and like watching beloved friends or children grow, and it is something I’m very glad I did. It will be republished soon by Crystal Lake Publishing.

If alternate universe steampunk LGBT romance adventures are more your speed, A Sweet and Steamy Series by Nikki Woolfolk fits the bill. Certainly the most romance-esque out of this list, the two out so far are The Winter Triangle and The Men of Summerly. They are beautiful adventures about dynamic, fleshed-out characters from many different backgrounds, like deaf astronomy professors and gay orphaned glassmakers. These charming novellas appeal to all five senses, and the foods featured in each book have corresponding recipes at the ends. And Nikki Woolfolk is a talented chocolatier. More on her website.

This one has an ambiguous ending but one that I find satisfying: “Reflection” by Daniel D. Darkfield. The hints at an unrequited love are subtle, but the fascination between the main character, Antonella, and her portrait subject transfers to the reader before she ever sets up her canvas. Full of more mystery than intrigue, “Reflection” is perfect for someone who wants to get away from the romance hype.

No happy endings for you? Read Michel Robertson‘s “In the Name of Science,” currently available in his collection Zombies, Vampires, Aliens, and Oddities: A Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction. With only the fragments of a romance that maybe never was and another that could never be, it features a horrifying and pretty unique origin story of a creature that’s been used and reused, and it’s one my partner and I still talk about sometimes after first reading it years ago.

No matter what your plans are for the weekend–mine are to take my little sister shopping–you’re sure to find some story with just the right level of romance for you whether it be all romance or no romance or anything in between.

The Brown Bag Stories: A Different Kind of Mailing List

I received my first brown bag in the mail a week ago from one of Stitched Smile Publication’s authors, A.J. Brown.

The Brown Bag Stories are delightful in their own horror-y ways. You get a mysterious package in your mailbox once a month with a new short story from A.J. Brown, a talented writer whom SSP is lucky to have signed on. I’ve never heard of another author doing their mailing lists this way, and I love the idea. Other than the usual back matter of an author’s note about the story and where to find his other books, there was no advertising (though I wouldn’t mind if there were). And he gets bonus points from me for having only a few grammatical errors.

“Sack,” the story for Volume 2, Edition 3, is longer than the others, and I am glad that the author chose to include it as this month’s story despite this. I was thoroughly hooked by the third page and devoured it whole. Like with most short story reviews, I don’t want to give it away, but I can say it has an interesting and disturbing spin on a holiday beast.

I’m looking forward to future Brown Bag Stories and the horror that they’ll bring.

You can find A.J. Brown on his blog or Facebook. Don’t forget to check out his books as well, like Cory’s Way.

Keep an eye out for A Stitch of Madness by A.J. Brown, coming soon from Stitched Smile Publications.

By the Shore Editing joins Stitched Smile Publications!

I am excited to have joined Stitched Smile Publications as one of their editors. I look forward to helping the authors unleash their voices!

A couple of my stories are in anthologies as well. There’s “Blue” in Happy Little Horrors: Alienated and “City of Ashes” in Tales of Magic and Misery by Tim Marquitz. And I have two in submission limbo, so fingers are crossed on that one!

If I’m not working on a book, I’m probably crafting something. I run Capitaine Crochet as a side business and sometimes provide giveaway items in both the crafting and publishing worlds.

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