The Wickedly, Worldly Way of the Written Word


I am so pleased to welcome author Susabelle Kelmer today on The Serious Series Writer.  Take it away, Susabelle!

I want to thank Susan Edwards for hosting me today on the Serious Series blog.  My debut novel, Fairest of the Faire, from The Wild Rose Press, was released this month (more on that below).  Today, I thought I’d talk to you about my fascination with words.

Sure, we talk all day long.  Words come pouring out of our mouths and brains, many times with little thought.  We talk to the barista at the coffee shop in the morning, before we are even really awake.  We talk to our families, our workmates, the store clerk, our friends.  We write emails, reports, and participate in discussions on the Internet. We text our friends on our smart phones, and fill out applications for employment, all using words.

And then there’s that one day when we are trying to write the word “that” or “know” and suddenly, our brain freezes.  We look at how we spelled it, and there’s no red underline in our Microsoft Word document, but we are just sure that we spelled it wrong.

There are more than a million words in the English language.  The average American English speaker only uses about 20,000 words.  So what about all those other words?  And how do we find those other words and add them to our vocabulary?

I have two great books I refer to often, if only to increase my own understanding of the language and how to use it.  The first , The Grand Pajundrum, boasts a collection of 2,000 words that we should all be adding to our vocabulary.

The second, I Always Look Up the Word Egregious: The Vocabulary Book for People Who Don’t Need one,  is full of the discussion of roots of words, with examples of how that word has developed.  Interesting stuff.  As a one-time English major, I always wished I could have a complete copy of the Oxford English Dictionary in my possession.  Of course, having it would mean needing a truck to carry it around, so these two books help feed my obsession with words, without needing a truck to haul them around.

What is your relationship with words?  Do you use your 20,000, or do you go for more?  Or is it before coffee, when you only have about five words in your vocabulary?  Give me your answers in the comments!

Fairest of the Faire, by Susabelle Kelmer


Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Read more about Fairest of the Faire and order your copy here!

Buy Links

Buy links for my book on The Wild Rose Press
Buy link for my book on Amazon
Buy link for my book on


susabellesmallSusabelle Kelmer earned her Bachelor of Arts in management and communications, with minors in English literature and secondary education.  She says: “I could have been a public speaker.  But I chose to be a writer instead.”  When she isn’t writing, she is gardening, cooking, and working in the university setting, where she serves students with disabilities.

Contact Susabelle


37 thoughts on “The Wickedly, Worldly Way of the Written Word”

  1. I love words, too! Since my writing style leans toward spare, finding exactly the right word is even more important.


    1. Gosh, Angelina, I’d completely forgotten about that resource! I should use it more often. I do like to write quirky characters, and having more words to choose from would be great for building their quirks.


  2. Wow, this did make me think. I don’t think I use enough words and am off to Amazon to check those two books! Thanks for the great post, Susabelle. You are just like your book, Fairest of the Faire – Awesome!


  3. Great post, Susabelle. I love it when I find just the right word for my story. But as much as my thesaurus is book marked and yellowed, I’m sure I only use my allotted 20,000 or less.


  4. Good morning! This caught my eye as I have been listening to the Great Courses cd on enriching vocabulary. It makes me wish I had studied Latin. LOL.


    1. I do recommend them, Kayden. I picked up both used, at thrift stores, of all places. I’m always looking for books of interesting words or at least the explanation of words and phrases.


  5. Wonderful post and your book looks great! One of the things I love about language is it is ever changing, taking in the new and sometimes changing the old. It’s a living thing!


  6. My husband and I always say, “Bet you a fiver!” whenever one of us challenges the other one’s use of an unfamiliar word. This expression harks back to our childhood when five pounds was half a week’s wages. I admit I sometimes save up a new word for several weeks in order to drop it into the conversation in an appropriate context and so “win” my theoretical fiver.


  7. I’m with you, Susabelle! I love words, and I love finding new words and learning the etymologies of common words. But when writing, I usually think twice before using an uncommon word because I don’t want to put my readers off. Did you know most bestsellers are written to the 5th grade level reading level? So I have to indulge my love of words in other ways. Great blog post!


    1. So true, Mary. We don’t want to offend our readers. But putting in a few words here and there is a good thing, as it helps people expand their vocabulary. If you can make it fun, that is even better!


  8. My mother quizzed us from the dictionary when we were in grade school. We had to learn the spelling and definition of a few new words each evening. Our classmates thought we were weird, because our vocabulary was broader than most kids our age, but it served us well later.


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