Thursday, March 19, 2009


My guest today is mystery author Meredith Cole, author of Posed For Murder.

As a novelist, words are my business. Although it can SpeedLumpSignseem trivial, the spelling of words reveals their origin and their meaning. I feel sorry for non-native speakers who have to deal with the strangeness of the English language and conquer such words as “Wednesday,” and “Business.” But I’m
going to rant anyway, because a misspelled word on a sign stops me in my tracks. So I have to ask--does anyone know how to spell anymore? And how can kids learn how to spell if nothing around them is spelled right?

On a trip out to Arizona, I decided I was too high strung to live away from the east coast. Menu typoEvery menu spelled “potato” and “steak” in strange and creative ways, and apparently no one had access to spell check. I suddenly had the urge to walk around with a pen correcting everything. I had to remind myself to instead look at the beautiful scenery and mellow out. But I was really shocked when I saw “February” misspelled on the chyron on the news. It seemed like everyone was lazy. Or worse, no one cared.

But honestly, my neighborhood in New York is no better. You would think if you were a business owner that, in between planning what to put on your awning and having it printed, someone might actually proofread their message. But apparently not. I’ve seen words like “beverages” spelled at least three different ways. And one of the signs at our supermarket reads “Aisle 4: Soda, beer and watar.” Watar? My husband says that’s how the word sounds with a Brooklyn accent, but I don’t think that’s the whole story.

And don’t even get me started on deliberately cute misspellings (Krazy Kuts!) or on texting. I have to admit I’ve been allowing several texting “words” to enter my emails. “BTW” for “by the way,” and “IMHO” for “in my humble opinion,” but I’ve decided there are several lines I simply will not cross. “RU 4 reel? LOL!”

And what's bugging YOU?
Posed for MurderMeredith Cole won the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery contest with Posed For Murder, which is now available. To find out more about Meredith and her work, check out her website. She also posts on the Debutant Ball blog.