First, let me officially wish everybody a happy 2012. I hope that in this coming year, if you don't get what you want, at least you get what you need. (There's your gratuitous Rolling Stones reference for the year. I think it's good to get that kind of stuff out of the way as early as possible.)
Second, I posted not long ago that I was going to be participating in the February Adopt an Indie event, and that SwanSong was going to be up for grabs for some lovely person to read and blog about. Alas, the organizer has cancelled the event. Her personal life has ramped up, and she has not received enough help from volunteers to take on some of the responsibilities for the event, despite her numerous requests. So, no Adopt an Indie next month.
I'm bummed because, frankly, I was looking forward to the publicity for my book. But Donna had a larger aim of promoting indie authors in general; of course I support that, because improving the reputation of indie publishing will be good for all of us in the long run. But not every indie author is so altruistic.
Anyway, and third, this means that my schedule is cleared for the next couple of months, and that can only be good news for the next book. It's back from the first round of reviewing (thanks, Suzu -- you rock!) and my suspicions about the narrative's weak points have been confirmed. So one of my goals for 2012 will be to whip that sucker into shape, aiming for publication in all the usual places by April or May. (Stay tuned for updates, right here on this station!)
My other writing/publishing goals are to then draft the second book in the new series in May or June, with the aim of publishing it before NaNoWriMo 2012 begins, during which I hope to draft book 3 of the series. (Whoa, I just realized the NaNo part of the timetable. I'm gonna be a busy writer chick this year....) And I'd also like to get back to updating this blog on a more consistent basis. I think I kind of missed the once-a-week mark toward the end of the year there. Apologies for that.
But enough about me. Let's talk for a moment about...capitalization.
The issue is when to capitalize nouns that do double duty, sometimes as people's names and sometimes as regular ol' nouns. I've seen this crop up in more than one place lately, so I thought I would address it here.
The rule is really simple. If you're speaking directly to the person, or calling the person by name, you capitalize the word, just as you would capitalize anyone else's name. Like so: "Mom, I want to take Carrie to the prom." Another example: "Mom, Dad, and Amelia went to the store without me." In each case, you're referring to Mom and Dad by name. Mom and Dad's birth certificates might say Mildred and Murgatroyd, but to you, their names are Mom and Dad -- so you capitalize the words.
However, if you then tell someone, "My dad let my sister get a candy bar at the store," you're referring to neither Dad nor Amelia by name, so in this case you would not capitalize the words.
One way to make the distinction is to look at the word or words that precede the word in question. If the word before the noun is not a possessive pronoun (my, his, her, our, their), an article (a, an, the, some, no), or an adjective, then it's likely that you're referring to Dad by name, so you should capitalize it. (I mention adjectives because chances are really good that you'll find one of the other two parts of speech in front of the adjective.) Does that make sense?
Please let me know if I've missed a part of speech that would trigger the lower-case dad. Thanks!