Grammar and Fun Stuff for Interrogation

For the Grammarians (of whom I am not one):

IT’S NOT SHERIFF’S OFFICE or even Sheriffs’s office. It’s Sheriffs Office. That’s because neither the Sheriff nor the sheriffs own it or have possession of it.  Sheriffs is an adjective in this case.

I know about this (totally not a grammarian) because I researched the U.S. Marshals Service and visited their website when I was writing Dancing Men.

“REALTOR” IS A WORD that one of my editors capitalized every time it appeared in the text. This is from The Word Detective blog:

“According to the National Association of Realtors, “The term ‘REALTOR’ is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the ‘NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’.” Whoa. Those folks sure love those capital letters; literally every time the word “Realtor” appears on their website it’s in ALL CAPS. Anyway, only those who pony up dues to the NAR can call themselves “Realtors,” a term the NAR trademarked in 1949. I guess the rest of those house-floggers in dorky blazers are just “real estate agents.”

I’m not sure the National Association of Realtors actually want a child serial killer identified as one of their own by me capitalizing the name of his job. Apparently, the NAR would like us all to call all those who are licensed to sell real estate, but not members of their group, “real estate agents.”  Too unwieldy and besides, we don’t. We call them realtors. 

In the book, Ferriter is not a member of the NAR, so it would be incorrect to use “Realtor.” The idea of Ferriter deigning to join some group made Garza snicker. But I will get behind a movement to stop people from saying re-lit-er instead of real-tor.

I HAD TWO QUESTIONS about the use of “further.”


In response to a question from a writer, The Chicago Manual of Style deferred to Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, which states: “Farther and further have been used more or less interchangeably throughout most of their history, but currently they are showing signs of diverging. As adverbs they continue to be used interchangeably whenever spatial, temporal, or metaphorical distance is involved

My underline. Language evolves. But creative writing is about more than how many websites claim one thing and how many another. It’s also about the tone and mood of language in the situation. This is how I chose which word to use. 

And sometimes I just make words up.

I USUALLY DO A blog post with these sorts of things, but I find people don’t generally visit it. Which is too bad. I found a new review on Secret Men that starts out “Wow! This was creepy!” The true story the case is based on is way creepier and is on my blog.  So I’ve decided to just stick the blog posts at the end of the books.




This is a (my) Greater Swiss Mountain dog. Saint Bernard size, but they don’t drool and have smooth coats. Sweetest boy ever.  He’d have been happy to have the chance to give up his life for you. 

Or round up your goats. 



Some reader remarks made me realize they weren’t familiar with firetowers. Yes, you can rent one. See this Forest Service site for information.

FIRETOWER FOR RENTFire lookouts (or firetowers) come in a wide variety of forms. Some are cabins perched at the edge of a cliff overlooking a wide swath of forested countryside. Many are actual  towers, ranging from 20 to 70 feet high. (That I found – there might be higher ones.)

This Bald Mountain shot with a bit of the tower cab on the left side, illustrates the vastness of what Cam and Vargas saw when trying to find one small boy. $45 a night for four window walls and a 360 degree view. Check it out here.


Come by the blog – it has some free reads and me going on about things and stuff.

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