March 4th is National Grammar Day….


During pubic school, I loved science and thought English class boring. Literature was wonderful but grammar, not my cup of tea. While I managed good grades, my interest level was so low I didn’t retain the rules. My spelling prowess… well, let’s say I received 100s on spelling test by memorization. Spelling bees frightened me. I’d spell the word in the first round, then purposely misspelled the second round word, making my escape.

It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I learned the value of good spelling. My first paper for Microbiology 101 received an excellent grade, minus three points for misspelled words. That never happened again.

While my grammar was suspect, it seems I had a love affair with commas, it wasn’t horrid. When I began writing I realized how imperative it is to write correctly. I never had issues with the specific writing of scientific reports, but prose was another matter. I poured over grammar sites on the Internet, bought Grammar for Dummies, and purchased an online grammar review program. These efforts, along with a great friend who is a linguist, and other eagle-eyed friends with excellent editing skills, have provided a platform I can write on with confidence.

My linguist friend continues to lecture me on verb tenses, but I only have one true fear remaining.  I’m still deathly afraid of spelling bees.


Interesting article by Kristen Hare posted on She is asking for people to share their biggest grammar pet peeves.

Image from


The world you see….

14 - 1

The Pegasus Star …. a serial science fiction novel

I will be posting some of my writing periodically and the first is a science fiction novel called The Pegasus Star.

TPS Book Cover  DR copy


Noah Flynn was a captain of a starship in the Earth Alliance Space Command. At least, he used to be. He now served as captain of an interstellar freighter after an unfortunate incident ended his military career. Adjusted to his new life, Flynn never expected the Alliance brass would come crawling to him, desperate for his assistance. Then he discovered why they were desperate, and he had no choice other than help. Someone had to save them all.

Click on The Pegasus Star link on the menu bar for the story.

This novel is being serialized on Google+ #Saturdayscenes, a new episode (almost) every Saturday. Check the community out… some fantastic work in multiple genres. I will update this site at the same time.

This novel is rated R for violence, sexual situations, nudity. Nothing explicit.

Hope you enjoy, I’d love to hear from you!

I’m posting this novel on #SaturdayScenes on Google+. Every Saturday a lot of very talented writers share their work, from scenes of their latest work to serial stories. Check the site out!

Please note: Book cover created by me from images found on Google Images. No commerical use of these images intended.

No we can’t……

Writers can't help it.

Photo from Google images.)

If you write, you know the feeling. You step away from the keyboard, to do something your real-life demands, and you can’t stop thinking about what you were writing. Jumbles of ideas about your story rattle around in your brain as you attempt to do the laundry or get ready for work or cook dinner.

I’m aware of my obsession with writing and each day I strive to achieve some semblance of balance in my life.  A difficult task when I find so much joy losing myself in the words as I create worlds, characters and adventures.

The cats are simply going to have to learn to feed themselves.

Memories of the South…


The beautiful mimosa tree became my favorite playmate as a small child. One stood on the corner of my yard in Aiken, South Carolina, and the ferny-leafed tree fueled my childish imagination. When the spidery blossoms were in bloom, I imagined the tree to be a castle in the sky filled with fairies. When the long, leathery seed pods appeared, the tree became a fortress on a faraway planet where I fought aliens side-by-side with Buck Rogers (loved those re-runs).
As a grown-up, I recognize the mimosa as a gorgeous addition to the Southern landscape. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think I see a fairy hiding among the blossoms.

Welcome to the coastal quill…..

“Everyone in the South has no time for reading because they are all too busy writing.”
― William Faulkner
I’m not certain Faulkner was totally correct. I was a voracious reader while growing up in South Carolina. I also wrote short stories about my dog Henry, the bravest Chihuahua in the neighborhood or my alternate life as queen of the fairies or as an astronaut. In school, book reports were my favorite assignments, and I couldn’t wait to finish the book and begin the report. One of my teachers allowed us to select any book we wished to write a report on. My favorite subject was Francis Marion, the famed South Carolina ‘Swamp Fox’ of the Revolutionary War. After four books on Marion, my teacher gently suggested I find another subject. I was also a fan of science fiction, so I chose Childhood’s End. From the look on her face when I presented my report, I’m not certain science fiction was what she had in mind, but she didn’t object.
My love of reading remains until this day, but I abandoned the stories I wrote as a child after college. Caught up in scientific papers, and later manuals on policies and procedures and real life, I lost myself in the words of others. The cancellation of my favorite science fiction television show changed that. Wanting more of my favorite characters, I began writing fanfiction and my forgotten desire to write a novel surfaced again. Using fanfiction to hone my rusty skills, I began writing a science fiction/murder mystery novel. Complete with the exception of the query letter (Why are those so hard?), I hope to have it published traditionally or independently.
Once awakened, my muse keeps me hopping. I’m nearing completion of two other novels and won’t admit to how many others I’ve started. I decided to start this blog to reach out to others who have published for their seasoned advice and to those who aspire to see their words in print. I’m proud of my Southern heritage, but all are welcome.
I plan on posting interesting information about writing, with observations about the area I love and my own writing. I hope you will tell us about your favorite places, not only to live but to write about, and your writing experiences.
Please join me, the quill is inked, ready to write….

Deborah Ratliff

musings of a southern writer

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