A double dental frenectomy for my son

In October, my son had a double frenectomy. If you haven’t heard of that, join the club. I had never heard of a frenectomy until last June when my son’s dentist referred him to an orthodontist.

Jase doesn’t need braces (yet) but his dentist felt it would be good to make an appointment and let her get a base line of his mouth. When we went to that appointment in June, the orthodontist took x-rays and measurements. One thing she noted is that the frenum under his tongue was tight. This didn’t allow his tongue to lie properly in his mouth (when not talking or eating your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth).

She said this tightness could cause problems with his speech (he has had speech therapy before) as well as the development of his mouth and jaw. She referred us to Mira, a therapist who specializes in Oral and Facial Muscle Dysfunction for evaluation.

Mira worked with Jase to see if they could stretch the tissue under his tongue and give him the range of motion that he should have. But it wasn’t enough, so she referred us to a periodontist, who evaluated Jase and agreed he should have a lingual frenectomy to release his tongue. She also said the tissue from the upper lip to his gum was tight which might be what was causing the space between his front teeth and might contribute to his open mouth breathing. This procedure for the top is a labial frenectomy. She recommended correcting them both at the same time.

This is done by a surgical procedure in which she uses a laser to cut the band of tissue to relieve the tightness. Even though this is a very common procedure, the words surgery and laser worried Jase. Now while the procedure can be done under a local anesthetic, we opted to have a stronger medicine to relax him.

It worked. He took the liquid medicine while sitting on a couch in the waiting room. He swears only five minutes passed when I was telling him that as soon as he felt better we could go home. But instead of five minutes, it had been more like an hour since he took the medicine. Though he says he remembers nothing, he was aware during the procedure though his speech was slurred. It took her no time to use her laser and do both procedures. It took longer for the medicine to wear off.

Once it did, we headed to Mira’s office. To ensure that the tongue remained free and didn’t reattach, there was a list of exercises she wanted him to do over the weekend. Already nauseous from the medicine, Jase hated those exercises the first day. But he did them.

And he continues to do new exercises to help train his tongue to rest in the place it should and to encourage his tongue to use its newfound mobility. Jase says his tongue feels freer. Mira also has noticed subtle changes in his face already. These professionals said this would benefit him but I think it is one of those things that could go either way. Did he have to have this done? Probably not but hopefully now that we have done it, we will see some benefits. Only time will tell.


Featured Author Recap of Fantasy Authors

Here is is November, and I don’t have an author scheduled for today so I am highlighting three past authors featured on my website that write fantasy novels.

(If you are an author and would like too be featured, I have openings in November, December and beyond. Click here for more information.)


Diana Rubino

Her time-traveling romance novel, Dark Brew, was released in July 2016. You can check out her interview here.

Amy Elizabeth Davis

Her humorous book, Darcy Bites: Pride and Prejudice with Fangs, came out in 2015. To read an excerpt and check out her book trailer, click here.


H M Sealey

She is currently working on the twelfth book in her Kingdom Rising series. Book 11, Deception Rising, was released last year. To find out more about this series, check out her interview here.


I hope you check out these authors. And if your an author who wants to be featured, contact me!

Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

This post is the fourteenth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week, I wrote about the importance of dialogue and gave a few tips on writing dialogue. Today, I want to talk about a special type of dialogue – internal dialogue. This is what your character is thinking. It is not the same thing as narration, which is when the person telling the story (the narrator) talks directly to the reader.

Now there are a few rules about using internal dialogue.

  • Only use internal dialogue for the point-of-view (POV) character. If you show the thoughts of non-POV characters, it is called head-hopping, and it is a big no-no in writing (though I do see many romance authors committing this writing sin.)
  • Only share thoughts that advance the story. We don’t need to hear every thought in your character’s head. We just need to hear the important ones that are relevant to the plot.

Including internal dialogue is a good way to replicate real life. In our own lives, we are always thinking to ourselves – noticing things, trying to solve problems, giving ourselves pep talks or berating ourselves.

There are two ways you can include internal dialogue – indirectly or directly.

Indirect Internal Dialogue gives the reader an idea of the character’s thoughts without the exact words they are thinking. You do not need to include the tags “wondered” or “thought.”

Here is an example taken from Internal Dialogue by Marcy Kennedy:

The suffocating stench of lilies clung to his clothes. She slowly pulled away from his hug. Shivers traced over her arms. She knew that smell. Not perfume. It was too natural for that, but it also wasn’t an everyday odor. She wouldn’t expect to run into it at the grocery store. Or the bank, either. It was rare. Heavy, warm, and sad.

Her breath tripped in her throat, and she stepped back. He smelled like death, like a corpse smothered in flower arrangements at a funeral parlor. The last time she’d smelled it was standing next to her mother’s coffin, saying good-bye.

Direct Internal Dialogue gives the reader the exact words the character is thinking. It is written in first person and present tense, regardless of the person and tense of the rest of the story.

Here is above example written as direct internal dialogue (also from Marcy Kennedy’s book):

The suffocating stench of lilies clung to his clothes and hair. She slowly pulled away from his hug. Shivers traced over her arms. I know that smell. I should know that smell.

Not perfume. It was too natural for that, but it also wasn’t an everyday odor. She wouldn’t expect to run into it at the grocery store. Or the bank, either. It was rare. Heavy, warm, and sad.

Her breath tripped in her throat, and she stepped back. He smells like death, like a corpse smothered in flowers at a funeral parlor. The last time she’d smelled that scent was standing next to her mother’s coffin, saying good-bye.

Formatting your internal dialogue

There are many ways to include internal dialogue in your novel. There are two rules you need to follow.

1.) Never use quotation marks for internal dialogue.

2.) Be consistent with whatever format you choose.

For indirect internal dialogue, you are not using speech tags (he thought) or setting off the words in italics since you are not giving the exact words.

For direct internal dialogue, you can use both a speech tag or put the information in italics. (Liar, she thought.) Or you could just decide to use italics. (Where’s the money you owe me?)

Once you have mastered using internal dialogue, you can use it to help your readers connect with your characters. It will help the characters feel more real and most importantly the internal dialogue can advance your story.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

Recipe of the Month – Tailgate Coleslaw

Recently my husband and I had some delicious BBQ Pork from our grocery store. This is the coleslaw I served with it which is also delicious! I know there are tons of coleslaw recipes out there, and this one may not be anything radical, but I like the tangy flavor and that the cabbage isn’t dripping/swimming with the dressing. I got this recipe out of a cookbook called The Cat who Cookbook that features recipes based on the book series by Lillian Jackson Braun.


4 cups shredded cabbage (I buy the pre-shredded packages that include carrots)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2/3 cup mayonnaise

3 T. Sugar

2 T. cider vinegar

pepper to taste

1/2 t. celery salt


Combine cabbage and onion. In a separate bowl, stir together maynnaise, sugar, vinegar, peper and celery salt. Pour over cabbage mixture. Mix well.

Serves 4-6.

Great with Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Should Halloween be moved to the last Saturday in October?

The kids will come home from school excited for a night of trick-or-treating. Costumes will be put on and dinner quickly eaten. A night with friends collecting candy is all they will think about. They don’t want to be bothered with thoughts of homework and school. Luckily most teachers know this and are kind enough to not assign any homework.

Parents later will be insisting kids stop their fun and go to bed as there will be school tomorrow. With frowns on their faces, the kids will put away their candy and try to fall asleep.

The next day they will be dragging as they get up and trudge off to school. (Or perhaps they will be hyped up if they had an after-breakfast candy fix.)

This is how every Halloween goes when Halloween lands on a school day. So, this leads some parents and teachers to wonder…why can’t Halloween be set as the last Saturday of October? After all, there are already some American holidays that have been assigned a specific day of the week – Election day, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

In fact, in the past, Time magazine and the Spirit Halloween retail store both have done petitions to ask Congress to officially endorse this change. But since Halloween is not a federal/national holiday, the federal government cannot make anything other than a proclamation.

But still others claim that Halloween cannot fall on the same day each year due to religious observances. It is after the eve of All Hallow’s Day, which is also called All Saints’ Day, a Christian festival in honor of all Saints.

There are numerous other religious attachments to October 31 or November 1. But the actual celebration that these kids are participating is more of a commercial holiday. Halloween is one of the top-selling months for candy and of course there is the sales of costumes and decorations. Americans spent $8.4 billion last year on Halloween.

If we separate the fun night of dressing up and begging for candy from a day of any religious significance, then there should be no harm in moving the date.

As a parent, I don’t know if I am all that concerned with moving the date. It is a once a year event, and many parents already must contend with keeping kids up late due to either their busy schedule or that of their kids. In all honesty, I would be fine either way. But every year that Halloween lands on a school night, I will still hear this question asked. Maybe one day we will have an answer.

Today’s Featured Author – Tonya Barbee

Please welcome Tonya Barbee as she stops by my blog as part of her virtual book tour promoting her book The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tonya

She’s a singer.

She could dance all night.

She loves to burn candles.

She’s a neat freak but has a hidden junk area.

She’s very sensitive but working on that.

She wanted to be a DJ when she was in high school.

She was a drum major for two full years as well.

She also wanted to be an actress and write plays.

She dropped out of college in her early years.

She loves cooking new things.

Book Blurb

The Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.

About the Author 

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.’

You can find more about Tonya on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain Amazon or Barnes & Noble.