Monday, February 13, 2017

New Name, New Website

Please check out my new website under my new name:

Right now the website focuses on my copy-editing, proofreading and localisation. In the future my husband will be adding his services in video production - script writing, directing, editing.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Can I say I'm singing in the rain?

Yes, it is raining in Wales today, off and on. But I'm not actually singing. My point with the title is to question whether I'm allowed to use the phrase 'Singing in the Rain', or quote it (as lyrics) in my post. On both counts the answer is 'Maybe'.

Last month I edited some memoirs, which the author hopes to self-publish, that contained many quoted lyrics of songs that help convey the author's mood and sense of the era he was writing about. I cautioned in my notes that he would probably need to acquire permission to reprint these lyrics because they are copyrighted.

Then, just a few days ago, the subject came up in a forum among SfEP members. I was right that he will need permission to reprint lyrics, but at the time I didn't know where he should enquire. I once had to get permission to use a short clip of a woman singing 'Heartbreak Hotel' in a video programme my husband and I made long ago (it's here on YouTube if you're having trouble sleeping). I was surprised that the owners of the copyright were not a big publishing company, so it can take a bit of research to find the right party.

It can also take some searching to clarify if you need permission to quote lyrics in certain contexts. Thankfully, someone on the forum posted a link to The Book Designer post on the subject. I recommend reading it if you have questions about copyright in your publication.

Copyright - Valerie Spanswick

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mind Games

Autumn is the perfect time to get back into learning.

I just joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). The SfEP is a respected organisation in the United Kingdom representing editors and proofreaders. Since I'm now resident in the UK, I'm happy to join this highly regarded group. Through SfEP training courses, I'll be brushing up on my skills and adding new ones to my repertoire.

Got to keep exercising that grey matter!

Saturday, September 10, 2016


What is life without challenges, eh?

Not content to live in one place for the rest of our lives, my husband and I have moved back to his native Great Britain. This is my third transnational move, and I would venture a guess to say that it will be my last!

I now have a new phone, new desk, new lamps, new chairs, new laptop and new printer.And when I'm not working, I also have a new bicycle and lots of new nooks and crannies to explore around our little corner of Wales. 


Sunday, March 6, 2016


In my last post, many moons ago, I talked about the future. Well, the future is almost here.

I'm moving from the United States back to Great Britain in a few months. At that time I'll be setting up under a new banner, most likely, and will discontinue Wordcraft. I have also heard that there are sometimes problems with moving Gmail accounts from one country to another, so this account may disappear even without my help!

I will endeavor/endeavour to post my details here when I'm settled in late summer 2016, but I can also be found on LinkedIn at

(It's possible that url could change to


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Sometimes it's the most common words that we're least curious about.
We use the word "future" all the time, but I'd never stopped to think about what its origins are. It seems pretty obvious the word would be Latin, and sure enough, in Webster's it says: from Latin futurus, about to be. And then it says to also look at the word "be." I never studied Latin, and my knowledge of all the Italian conjugations is not so sharp anymore, but I do remember the word fui, one of the future tenses of "to be." I had a little "Aha" moment when I saw that.

I'm thinking about the future a lot right now. I've been letting things slide here because I've been on a very long-term temporary assignment, which has kept me busy. Since that will soon draw to a close, it's time to start focusing on Wordcraft and the work I do here. 2016 is going to be a year of growth and reaching out and even some big changes.

Here's to the future!

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Sounds like Greek to me. And, in fact, the word "chaos" is of Greek origin - khaos, meaning vast chasm, or void. goes even further and says the original Greek meaning is "abyss, that which gapes wide open, is vast and empty." Just in case there was any doubt.

So where did our modern definition of "orderless confusion" begin to take shape?

Encyclopedia Mythica says it's all down to Ovid, the Roman writer, who gave chaos the meaning of "an unordered and formless primordial mass." Other sources suggest it was in the 16th or 17th century that chaos began to mean extreme confusion, bedlam, pandemonium. In spite of its meaning, the word sounds very controlled, don't you think?

For more thoughts and quotes about chaos, visit my other blog - Muse Fondue.