Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

#flashfictionFriday: Sonnet 116, by William Shakespeare

Wm Shakespeare Amazon Author Central portraitWe haven’t waxed poetic over Shakespeare recently, and I think it’s time to consider the prose of the master, both its meaning and its construction. To that end, I give you

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments, love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.


O no, it is an ever fixèd mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken.


Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come,

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom:


If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Sonnet 116 is typical of what we think of as a classic English sonnet. The English sonnet has three quatrains (verses), followed by a final rhyming couplet. It follows the typical rhyme scheme of iambic pentameter, which is a type of poetic meter: one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable.

The interpretation of this poem is open to many speculations, the most compelling of which I found in Cliffs Notes, and which I quote here:

Despite the confessional tone in this sonnet, there is no direct reference to the youth. The general context, however, makes it clear that the poet’s temporary alienation refers to the youth’s inconstancy and betrayal, not the poet’s, although coming as it does on the heels of the previous sonnet, the poet may be trying to convince himself again that “Now” he loves the youth “best.” Sonnet 116, then, seems a meditative attempt to define love, independent of reciprocity, fidelity, and eternal beauty: “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks / Within his bending sickle’s compass come.” After all his uncertainties and apologies, Sonnet 116 leaves little doubt that the poet is in love with love.

The experts at Shakespeare Online say:

Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. The poet praises the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poet’s pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not “alter when it alteration finds.” The following lines proclaim that true love is indeed an “ever-fix’d mark” which will survive any crisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be able to measure love to some degree, but this does not mean we fully understand it. Love’s actual worth cannot be known – it remains a mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so “ev’n to the edge of doom”, or death.

In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he must take back all his writings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved, in the ideal sense that the poet professes.

Five hundred years after his time on this earth, the Bard of Avon’s crafting of ideals and emotions into words evokes powerful feelings in the reader. He is immortal, because we hear his words and feel their impact.

The secret poet within me hopes to one day develop more poetic skill, whether it is writing free-verse, or crafting a more traditional rhyming style of prose. To that end, I practice writing poetry when I am in the mood, and read the masters, and attend local poetry-slams. It’s amazing, the talent in your local poetry groups.


Cliffs Notes, Sonnet 116 © 2016 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 116. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 8 Dec. 2012. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/116detail.html

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#amwriting: Who are you? 4 steps toward building your brand

Who are youI have written a great many reviews for Best in Fantasy over the past two years. For each post on that site, I always try to include links to the author’s website. If I am unable to locate a website for them, I link it to their Amazon Author Page, or their Goodreads Author Page.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when I am unable to find a website to link to their review. It’s even worse when I find that their author page at Amazon is a blank canvas, and they haven’t bothered with Goodreads. I want to promote their work, but they are making it impossible.

Goodreads and Amazon offer you a central place to put both your author name and links to your work– where a prospective reader can locate it all in once place. If you do nothing else, you need to take advantage of that.

First: Lets start with your author bio–after all, each and every professional site you will want to connect with will want your official bio. For your own website you can go into as much detail as you want, but for most other sites you will want to keep it short, keep it simple, and make it intriguing. This is author Alison DeLuca’s short bio::

Hunted Heart by Alison DeLucaAlison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

In real life Alison is an author, an editor, a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group, a teacher, the mother of  a pre-teen, the wife of a rocket scientist, chef–but her bio focuses on her writing.

This is author Shaun Allan’s bio:

Dark Places Front Large (1)Shaun Allan is the creator of many prize winning short stories and poems. A writer of multiple genres, including horror, humour and children’s fiction, Shaun goes where the Muse takes him – even if that is kicking and screaming. Shaun lives with his one partner, two daughters, three cats and four fish!  Oh, and a dog.

Shaun also has a job, a family, a business, and a private life–but his bio focuses on his writing. Take a cue from these two authors and keep it simple, a little fun, and keep it short. Focus on your writing.

Wm Shakespeare author central portraitSecond: You will want to select an author photo to go with that bio. Choose one you like, and stick with it. You only have to update it every five years or so, if that often. Some authors never update it. This is William Shakespeare’s author photo on Amazon. He can get away with a cartoon, because, as a true renaissance man, he was never photographed.

(Medieval humor).

Third:  If you are a published author, create an Amazon Author Page. Log into Amazon’s Author Central. The following instructions are quoted from Amazon’s Author Central help page:

  1. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click Join Now.
  2. Set up your Author Central account if you haven’t already done so.
  3. In Author Central, click the Profile tab. You’ll see sections for adding or changing your biography, photos, videos, speaking or other events, and blog feeds.
  4. Click the add or edit link next to a section. Instructions appear, along with space to add information.

If you don’t add information to a section, that section does not appear on the Author Page. Sections are always available in Author Central so you can add or change the information later. By doing this, all your books will show up in one place, and you will have ONE link to showcase ALL your work, and it includes buy buttons.

Fourth: Create a Goodreads Author Page using the same bio and photo you used at Amazon. The following instructions are quoted from the Goodreads Author Program help page:

  1. If you are already a Goodreads member, make sure you are signed in. If not, sign up for an account.
  2. Search for yourself and click on your published author name. The author name is listed below the title of your book in the search results. If you are a writer but have not yet published a book, you may want to check out the writing section of your profile where you can post your writing for others to read and review.
  3. Clicking on your name takes you to your basic author profile page. This page has your name at the top and “author profile” to the right of your name. This page is part of our database of books and authors and is separate from your member profile page (which lists your bookshelves and friends).
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click “Is this you?” to send a request to join the Author Program. Please give us a few days to process your request. You will receive email confirmation when we successfully upgrade your user account to an author account. Joining the program merges your author page with your member page. The email will also contain further instructions for managing your author profile.

Connie Jasperson 2013

I have two bios-one long and one short. They focus on my writing life.  You need both long and short, because some sites will ask for more and some will ask for less. The following is my expanded bio:

Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington.  A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, an editor for Myrddin Publishing Group, and is a writing coach. She is an active member of the both the Northwest Independent Writers Association and Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group.  Music and food dominate her waking moments. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly. You can find her blogging on her writing life at: https://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com.

For my short bio, I use this: Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington.  A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

We have to make it convenient for our prospective readers to find our work. Remember,  your author name is your brand and your bio is your calling card. Your author photo, your bio, and your Goodreads and Amazon profiles are what will show up when your author name is googled, but only if you put them out there.

Getting your name out there is your job, whether you are an indie or traditionally published. Also, YOU must make sure your bio, author photo are updated more than once every five years.

These are small ways for you to connect with your readers, they take very little time, and unlike a blog, you only have to do them once and then just update them once in a while.


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More Disintegrating Eglish…Enlish…#language

gibberish-american businesses onlineThis weekend I happened to be out on Facebook. A friend of mine had a fun thread going, regarding the way English seems to sliding in a new direction. I find this interesting in same the way a cat finds a snake intriguing.

I want to play with it, but it may bite me.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, English is the ever-disintegrating language. The very roots of English encourage this continual evolution.

Think about it–a bunch of smart guys in Victorian England applied the rules of a dead language, Latin, to an evolving language with completely different roots, Frisian, added a bunch of mish-mash words and usages invented by William Shakespeare, and called it “Grammar.”

We had a short discussion about words that either signify lazy speech habits or a shift in the language and came up with this short list, that is only the tip of the pox-ridden iceberg:

gibberish quoteSupposably…oh wait, did you mean supposedly?

Liberry…no sir you must go to the library for those books–the liberry can only give you hives.

Feberry...I hope you mean it will happen in February, because Feberry will never come.

Honestness...In all honesty I am not sure what to make of that one.

But my particular favorite is Prolly, which my granddaughters seem to think means Probably, but in all honestness, doesn’t.

It’s not a new problem. Jonathan Swift, writer and dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, complained to Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, in 1712: “Our Language is extremely imperfect. Its daily Improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily Corruptions; and the Pretenders to polish and refine it, have chiefly multiplied Abuses and Absurdities.” He went so far as to say, “In many Instances, it offends against every Part of Grammar.”

Well, that is prolly a little harsh.

English is like water–it shifts, it flows, it steals what it wants from every other language it comes across. That is what makes it so fun to play with. And also is what makes it so difficult to work with.



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What’s in YOUR belfry?

APPROACHING HELLI’ve got a jammed-up calendar right now. I’m preparing my presentation on writing natural dialogue for Northwest Bookfest, which will be held in Kirkland Washington at Northwest University on Nov. 1 & 2, 2014. I’m really looking forward to that, but they’ve given me a slot between 10:30 a.m and 12:00  on Sunday morning-so that’s a lot of talking about talking. I can do it– heck, you know me. If I talk myself hoarse, I’ll let everyone out a few minutes early for lunch because that’s the kind of girl I am.

But in the meantime, I am still finalizing my seminar and the worksheets to go with it, and I have to also publicize it via twitter, press releases, and blogposts. After all–I really do want people to attend this sock-hop!

NaNoWriMo-General-FlyerNot only that, but I’m trying to get a book-signing/talk about the self-publishing industry for myself and Lindsay Schopfer at a local bookstore (whose website has no working contact links and who rarely answers their phone and never answers their voice-mail.) The nice-but-vague young man whom I have spoken to so far seems to have rather a low opinion of indies, but I am going to conquer that bookstore yet!

I am also building my calendar for my nano group in preparation for NaNoWriMo, which also begins on November 1st. While I do this, I have to  get the Christmas promotions finalized for my published books. I fit all of this in the copious amounts of free time I have between editing for clients, and making required revisions of my own current work, and finishing my next novel.

Being an indie author means it’s all on me. I have to generate any buzz about my books that will be generated, and I have to do it in such a way that my friends don’t all unfriend me, and my husband still looks forward to coming home. Maybe I do have bats in my belfry, but at least I’m having fun.

330px-Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623I console myself with the thought that Shakespeare had the same trouble. I do have my Twitter campaign planned–the genuine not-too-annoying-please-buy-my-books-I’ll-do-anything campaign. I have a Goodreads Ad campaign currently ongoing. I will stand naked on a street corner until I sell a book.  I will get a Google Ad campaign going.

I have several ads to put in the local paper regarding NaNoWriMo, and also I have a press release for Christmas O’ClockMyrddin Publishing’s charity anthology. We want to push that book and hopefully double our sales this year as the royalties from all sales go to benefit Water is Life. This charity is very dear to my heart, as millions of people go without safe drinking water, and they seek to change that.

I am my own publicist, secretary, chauffeur, housekeeper, and chef–so I guess you know, nothing much is getting done around the house.

Watch out for that low flying grandma–this broom ain’t stopping anytime soon.


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Journaling or Noveling

As summer ends and fall approaches, those of us who are regular NaNoWriMo writers begin to plan for our month of committed writing. We are jotting down ideas as they come to us, and making notes to help springboard ourselves into November with all our guns a blazing.

Generic-180x180People who have never heard of NaNoWriMo are always surprised that it is not only people who want to be published authors who use this month to create 50,000 word manuscripts. Family historians, dedicated diarists, people working on their PhD–anyone who wants or needs a month dedicated to getting a particular thing written will do so in November. More people do this during November than you would think–about half of our WriMos in my regional area are journaling or writing their theses. The support of the group really helps the graduate students stay focused, and it also bolsters those who are diarists and encourages them to write more about their thoughts and philosophies.

330px-Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623I’ve been asked many times what I see as the differences between journaling and noveling. (Sorry, word-nazis–I know,  I know! I just invented that word but hey, why not loosen up a bit and have a little fun with language? Willie Shakespeare did it all time!)

Anyway, journaling is keeping a diary. You do this on a daily basis, or at least frequently. According to Tiny Buddha “Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.” You start where you are in life at that moment, and for ten or fifteen minutes a day, you write stream of consciousness. This is an awesome way to jump-start your brain.

Noveling is telling lies, keeping them straight, and making the world believe it until the last page.  Again, William Shakespeare was awesome at this, and he put his work into the form of plays and sonnets, which were the most accessible media of the time for the common people.

shakespeare-word-cloudHow many words did William Shakespeare invent? According to Shakespeare Online Dot Com: “The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original. …  For a more in-depth look at Shakespeare’s coined words, please click here.”

Whether you are journaling or noveling, the important thing is to do it every day. Write for as long as you can when you can, and that will build your ‘writing’ muscles. If I dedicated 3 hours a day to just writing stream of conscious, I will chunk out 2500 to 3000 words–about half of which are mis-keyed and misspelled, but hey, no one is perfect. Some words I invent–and some words invent me, but either way, I love words.

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Words as Swords

shakespeare-word-cloudGrammar is such a pain. We all speak naturally in a dialect that is indicative of where we live, and there are certain peculiarities that will emerge in our scribbles.


I was raised by a set of parents who adored words.  Long words, short words, rhyming words– my siblings and I learned words at a young age and we know how to use them and in what context.

Of course, many of the words I was taught were unique to my family, apparently, but words were important and they were celebrated.

the_last_good_knight_cover-createspace.jpgPeriodically Dad would “lose his words” and what came out of his mouth at that point we were not to repeat….

I have this wealth of words in my head, and yet when I get to cruising on a tale, I inadvertently use the same words rather frequently, as if my head is stuck in a rut.

Words have power. Words can build nations and words can tear them down. “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

51VAA93NY4LWilliam Shakespeare adored words too, and is credited with inventing over 1700 of the words we use today. He did this by changing nouns into verbs, and connecting words together that had never been used before. Some of these words include ‘bedroom’ and ‘courtship.’

Words can win a persons love, and words can destroy a relationship forever. “Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear….”

To have the chance to wallow in words all day long, and get paid for it is more than amazing, it is what I always dreamed of. I live for words, to write them, to read them — to play with them. I get to quote Shakespeare! “Cry ‘havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war….”

Long words, short words, life is built around words.

“Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts…..”


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