Wordsmiths – Quality grammar, vocabulary, and writing materials in the field of English
Welcome to the home of Jensen’s Grammar, Journey Through Grammar Land, Jensen’s Format Writing, and other fine language books.
Our mission is to provide teachers and students with quality grammar, vocabulary, and writing materials in the field of English. Home schools, Christian schools, and private schools currently use and recommend our materials.
This site is designed to help you find out about and evaluate our materials. Some of our philosophy should come through as well. Your questions and comments are welcome.
Cathy Duffy has picked Jensen’s Format Writing as one of her 100 TOP PICKS for Homeschool Curriculum. It’s an honor we are proud of.
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Notes from the Smithy… #94
winter – 2015-16
Greetings from Southern Oregon. It is and has been raining pretty constantly, but it is western Oregon after all. 2016 is upon us, and the school year is about half over. Be encouraged; learning is taking place.
NEWS what’s happening
JUST FOR FUN a mixture
A NEW LEAF turning it over
A NEW DEAL a sale going on
RECENT READS a few from me
MISCELLANY as it says
ONLY FROM ME: 1) I have the major tests for the vocabulary books. There are six of these tests, one for each nine weeks of work. 2) I have finished the final test for Jensen’s Grammar. It is 100 questions and quite comprehensive. Both of these are available for FREE, but you have to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get them. I am the only source for these tests. You will have to print them off. Each set includes the test and the answers.
The big news is that another publishing company has taken over most of the business. From this point on they will be publishing and distributing the four Jensen titles and the related DVD’s. Christian Book Distributors has purchased the remaining copies of From Heart to Page and Sound Spelling. Vernie Jones, the co-author of the Grammar Land books, is coming off the foreign field this time next year. He currently teaches in Japan. At that point he will take over the printing and distribution of the Grammar Land series.
So, what do I have left? I have a number of copies of Jensen’s Grammar that are unused but have a name written in them one the inside cover or the first page. I also have lots of Tests & Answers for Jensen’s Grammar. And finally I have some new but blemished or corner bent copies of Jensen’s Format Writing. See A NEW DEAL below for my sale prices.
JUST FOR FUN
This is a vocabulary exercise. I put this in the newsletter a number of years ago. Later a homeschooling magazine picked it up and published it. That was back in the 90’s some time. Few will remember it, so here it is again.
This involves the word TREMENDOUS. Following the rules below, you should find over 100 words. The best effort yielded 166 words.
- All words must contain 3 letters or more.
- No plurals or –s forms of verbs.
- The only double letter allowed is E; there are two E’s in TREMENDOUS.
- The letters may be used in any order.
- You may use the dictionary if you like.
Lewis Carroll is credited with inventing this word puzzle. You have two words of equal length, for example, CAT and DOG. The object is to build a ladder of words that change one letter at a time to make the transition from cat to dog. When competing with others, the shortest ladder wins.
Here is one possible solution.
That’s how it is done. Try these out for fun.
HAND to FOOT
BLACK to WHITE
HEAD to TAIL
A NEW LEAF
Earlier this year, January 3 to be exact, I celebrated my 74th rotation around the sun. I share that birth date with J.R.R. Tolkein, but his writing is vastly more creative than mine. Over the last few years I have been looking for some exit strategy from this business. Wordsmiths is a good business and has been satisfying for me in that many people have been helped through the books, and I have been able to make some money and keep things in print. However, the business was pretty much me, so the thought of its future without me was a question.
This fall an acquaintance in the home school community emailed and asked if I would be interesting in selling my business. I was open to that and told him so. He gave me a name and number to call, which I did. It was New Leaf Publications Group. I checked out their website at www.nlpg.com, prior to calling. They seemed to be a viable company with history and stability. So, New Leaf and I had some interchange via phone and email. After some discussion we came to an agreement, and I sold the Jensen’s portion of the business to them.
So, why did I sell? I am getting older; some would say old. It’s a fact. The boxes were getting heavy. But more importantly, I wanted to pass off the business into good hands. No one lives forever although thus far the Lord has blessed me with decent health. Still, some season of relative rest had its appeal. Besides, should the Lord decide to suddenly take me, what would become of the business?
According to the folks at New Leaf, they attend some 25-30 curriculum fairs each year. I have not attended any for about four years. That exposure will help sell books and gain a wider audience. They publish lots of books, but they had nothing in my areas of expertise. It seemed like a good fit, and they wanted my materials. The upshot of it was that they purchased my Jensen’s books and related DVD’s and will now be printing and selling them to other distributors and to end users. They bought my inventory.
When New Leaf determines to reprint, they stated they would not change the content but might spiff up the type style and so forth, mostly to modernize things as I understand it.
So from now on Jensen’s Vocabulary, Jensen’s Punctuation, Jensen’s Grammar and Jensen’s Format Writing are in their hands along with the DVD’s related to grammar and writing.
I like the company and am excited to see what they will do through their sales and marketing team to get the books out to a wider audience. Having shifted that responsibility, I have a couple of ideas for complementary products that I might develop. By God’s grace, our arrangement will be a good one.
A NEW DEAL
Wordsmiths has not had many sales in the past. I passed on my remaining copies of From Heart to Page and Sound Spelling to Christian Book Distributors at a good deal. There weren’t many books left, but it was time to clear the inventory.
However, I have a number of Jensen’s Grammar, about 25 or so, that are unused but were returned from a school with a student name written in them. These books are the latest edition and are new but have that name written in them. Thus, I am going to sell them at a steep discount to whoever wants them. The cost will be $17 per book plus whatever shipping applies. Single copies will have the standard $4 fee. Multiple copies will likely be the cost of UPS or maybe USPS, whatever applies.
Of course the tests and answers will come with the grammar book and are included in the above price. I do have a surplus of the T&A’s, so I will continue to help out those who lose theirs or buy used copies and don’t get the T&A. That price will stay the same, $1 for the T&A plus shipping and handling. The post office makes more than I do on that deal; it is just a service to those who need one.
When it comes to the Jensen’s Format Writing, I have about 130 of these. They are new but have blemishes or bent corners. The blemishes are white spots or streaks on the blue, usually on the covers and at times on the spines. Some of the blemishes are barely noticeable, and some are quite evident. Nonetheless, they were not wanted by New Leaf, so I have them and want to sell them. Schools, consultants, and individuals, here is your opportunity to get these books at a great discount.
I am going to sell them for $13 each plus appropriate shipping costs, again $4 for single copies and whatever charges accrue from UPS or USPS for multiple copy shipments. Note that I do not have any DVD’s for either of these books. You will have to get the DVD’s through New Leaf if you want them.
Both of these so-called damaged copies can be ordered off the web site. Both of these books are being discounted by 48%. You won’t find a better deal anywhere else. Remember these are new books but have some minor cover issues or have a name inside, but the books are new.
I am also going to sell my copies of the Grammar Land series at a 33% discount. Parts 1&3 and Parts 3&4 will sell for $20 each; Part 5 will sell for $10. Sorry, but there will be no discount on sets of these. Usual shipping and handling charges will apply.
Finally, I have a request to make of you. If you are personally interested or know of someone who might be interested in taking over the printing and distribution of From Heart to Page, let me know. The author and I would like to find someone who wants to take this on. There will be some changes made to the book, upgrades I assume, but that will be up to the author and whoever takes over.
This past quarter with the holidays and the things to do in the business broke up my reading time somewhat. I did read five books and finished two year long devotionals. My brief reviews follow.
Last time I mentioned that I was reading Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. This quarter I read the second and third books in the series, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of the Ages. I enjoyed them both. They contain drama, mystery, humor, and commentary on political systems. Elend Venture and Vin are the main characters, but a number of others play good secondary roles and move the action along.
The second book introduces a new character, another mistborn. He provides some drama and both a choice and a challenge for Vin. The Deepness begins to be a problem. Sazed undergoes a crisis of faith. Elend struggles with how to rebuild and run a kingdom. He and Vin try to sort out their relationship. Thus, there is some personal soul searching and some discussion of governing theory. I thought it was a good book, and it stands on its own as a story rather than being just a bridge between the other two novels.
The third book was a satisfying book to end the trilogy. Questions were answered; loose ends were tied up; and the main issue was resolved. It lacked in some ways the humor of the first two books, but the situation was dire for most of this book. Breeze provided a little comic relief just by being himself, but that was about it. At the end, there are some surprises, but that makes for a good ending. Sanderson philosophizes some about government, leadership, faith, and religion, but it fit where he brought it up, and it did not detract from the book or seem preachy.
The three books comprise about 2150 pages, but the story is good enough to hold one’s attention. The original gang gets split up, so there are parallel actions going on, but it is not confusing and does add to the story. If you like fantasy, it is a good series to read.
I finished two year long devotionals. I had read both of them previously some years back. One was titled The One Year Christian History by a husband and wife team, E. Michael and Sharon O. Rusten. I used it as part of my daily devotional reading. The stories ranged in time from 763 BC to 2000 AD. I remembered a few, but most I did not. Each entry was two pages, tied to the calendar date, had a Scripture to go with it, and had a comment or a question to reflect upon. It is a good book, and I recommend it to anyone who has any interest in Christian history.
The second devotional was Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. It was written by Kenneth W. Osbeck, who has written other books about hymn histories. It is easy to read and has interesting background information on the hymns and their authors as well as the hymn texts and a couple of lines of music. I would not use it as my only devotional, but it was nice to read in conjunction with the Scriptures and my other reading. Each entry is a page, and the hymns are grouped loosely according to the church calendar. Again, I would recommend using this if you like to learn about the authors and the history of hymns.
Just for fun I picked up and read Moses Was a Basket Case: Hilarious True Stories to Encourage and Inspire by J.J. Jasper. This book was fun in parts. JJ is a humorist and radio personality. He has had some interesting experiences, and he seems to write well. The book flows. It is a look at some of the adventures in which he has been involved. The two chapters I liked best were the one on his initial flight training and the one about the Shack, a place he and his cousin inhabited that was their grandmother’s old place. The book is short and provides some chuckles as well as inspiration.
L. B. Graham has a new series. I previously read and reviewed his Summerland series, a five novel group that was quite good. His new series is called The Wandering.
The first book is called The Darker Road. I thought it was well written and engaging. The characters were interesting, and the plot moved along relatively well. The resolution at the end was sufficient for this, the first book in the series, and it sets the stage for more books. Graham is a thoughtful writer; he works in good observations about life very naturally. I found some parallels to certain Scriptural ideas and events, but they were not blatant. The world he creates has interesting animals/beasts, and the golden cord and the meridium are quite clever inventions. People are people on whatever world we meet them. Some display good qualities; some are mixed, and a few are downright evil. This book has all three types. There is some character growth in the hero as he works out his issues. I recommend this book for readers who like well thought out fantasy with positive moral standards.
The second book, The Lesser Sun, did not disappoint. The story contiued to move along well. The love interests of Deslo were a side story. The Jin Dara showed his power, and the big decision about crossing the Madri came and went with interesting consequences. There are Christian allusions in the book and add a bit to the tension, particularly in making major decisions. New characters emerge and play their parts well. My thought is the two villains in the story will link up somewhere in the next book or books and create more difficulties. Many details and events are yet to come. It’s a good book for those who like adventure with some Christian elements woven in. I recommend it for teens and above.
Will this series be a trilogy or more? That question is as yet unanswered
- This newsletter is posted quarterly on the website, and it is emailed free to those who wish to subscribe. You will note my website and this newsletter are pretty free of commercials, and that is the way I intend to keep it.
- Remember, if you have questions, I am only an email away, email@example.com. I am your support, so use me when the need arises. I try to email a response within a day or two. The more specific the question, the better my answer will be. The folks at New Leaf will also be answering questions as time goes by. Contact them at www.nlpg.com.
- Thank you, thank you, thank you if you purchased, used, or recommended my books over the years.
- I am tentatively thinking the next issue of Smithy Notes will appear sometime this coming spring, but things are in flux at present, so we will just have to see what the Lord will have for me.
By His grace alone,