I HAD A FUNNY PIC HERE OF ME AS A TEEN PRETENDING TO STRANGLE MY LITTLE BROTHER. I’VE DELETED THE IMAGE  BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE ARRIVING HERE OFF THE MOST HORRIBLE SEARCHES.

There was a long time in my life where my family moved often.  Yeah, I can be social, but it’s only after I get over a beginning, crippling nervousness–one that almost always sprouted some sort of rash during that first week at a new school.

Starting new so often tore me up, so I turned to books.  Books kept me company, especially during our stint in a remote commune in the Ozark Mountains.

They were friends on the many long trips we took with six people crammed into whatever vehicle we happened to be driving at the time–One of my sisters thought it fun to stare at me for hours on these trips.  And every so often, she’d reach out and poke me in the side.  Brat.  But in the pic?  That’s the baby brother… whole ‘nother story…

But my books were sacred and the whole family knew not to start the trip unless I had enough to keep me occupied.  Otherwise, I would have pounded on the one sister most of the trip.  (Or uh, strangled the baby brother.) I always made sure to pack my keepers–the ones that felt like long term friends I could reread for comfort.

Honestly, I think books kept me sane at times.  I could disappear into a dreamy world of adventure, excitement or love.  I could experience other realms of ideas or thoughts.  In the Ozark Mountains, I used to take a packed snack, blanket and a book and walk deep into the woods so I could lie on the forest floor and read.  There were wild blackberry bushes near my favorite spot and sometimes, I’d turn the pages purple from the juice on my fingers. 🙂

One of the hardest parts of growing up and getting involved in a busy mom life is a lack of true reading time.  By true, I mean that total immersion into the story.  There just isn’t as much time these days.

It does happen, but a part of my brain stays painfully aware of what’s going on around me as well as keeps tabs on the crazy schedule.   I forget things so easily when I get lost in reading and now writing.

But I’ve also realized that since becoming a writer, I read differently.  It takes a very good writer to yank me all the way into a story these days.  What does it for me is fantastic characters–ones that feel so real, you know they’d reach through the pages of the book to pinch you if you aren’t paying attention.

This was supposed to be about pronunciation. <g>  Rambling Sunday mornings, eh?

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One byproduct of all that time I spent reading over socializing was a tremendous vocabulary of words I didn’t know how to pronounce. Seriously.  I didn’t watch all that much television and didn’t go to the movies that often (We traveled a lot!) and I knew words that weren’t used in everyday conversations–but I knew them wrong.

I pronounced virile with that first “i” long for years.  Don’t know why.  Doesn’t make sense now, but it means something totally different then, eh?  Words like “hover” were pronounced with a long “o”.

When I started dating my incredibly smart future hubby, he found it sweet that I knew all these words yet no one had told me how to say them.

But… I felt like an idiot every time I learned I was mispronouncing words.

I grew to be afraid of public speaking.

I remember the first time I was asked to teach a workshop on character tags for my local RWA chapter and I grew so panicked, I ended up saving my beta blocker for right before it started.  (I was ill with Graves at the time and they were a requirement for keeping my heart rate down.)  And sure enough, one of the ladies called out a word I didn’t recognize.

I stood for a minute, took a deep breath and realized I did know the word “laconic” but had been, of course, saying it differently in my head.  Nervous, I wrote “laid back” into that slot anyway.

The world didn’t end and no one thought I was a dummy–in fact, no one knew of that tiny mini battle I’d fought in those few seconds.

To this day, there are times I’m not sure how to pronounce a certain word.  And I’m a word junkie.  Ask my cp–Rachel, who btw, shares this weird liking for new words.

But I found this great place on the net that not only gives you a definition, but it shows you the correct pronunciation.  And you don’t have to pay for a premium membership either. Cool, eh?  🙂

Online Dictionary with Pronunciation!