Divided by a common language?

imagesAmong the many things the UK has in common with the USA, is the English language. Except that, with a huge ocean and many centuries between when the English spoken was pretty much the same and now, subtle, and not so subtle, divergences have given rise to the sentiment conveyed in the title of this post. No one is quite sure who said these famous words. They are often attributed to George Bernard Shaw. But they might be from Oscar Wilde,George_Bernard_Shaw_1934-12-06 or Mallory Browne, or Raymond Gram Swing, or the prolific Anon.

Some of the misunderstandings over words and phrases are humorous (to Brits, anyway – the American term ‘fanny’ is a more sexual part of the anatomy in Britain, so not a word to be used in polite society without a titter or a tut). Some are misleading (American pants are British trousers; the American woman’s purse is the British woman’s handbag). Some are annoying (‘have a nice day’ / ‘take care.’ – No, I’ll damn well have a sh***y day, and run out in front of cars, if I want to. But then, as the English novelist, Kingsley Amis, really did say: ‘If you can’t annoy someone with what you write, there’s little point in writing.’ And the same, I suppose, can go for speaking.

As much as the different meaning of words and phrases can cause confusion, is the difference in nuance. The English person’s use of understatement, often puzzles American and other nationalities.  Carol Midgley, recently wrote about this in The Times:

“When a man says he’s going ‘for a pint’ he means five, minimum. ‘I’ve felt better,’ means ‘I’m so ill I could die.’ ‘I’ve been a bit silly,’ means I’ve gambled the house away, and got my wife’s sister pregnant.’ …

… When someone is described as a ‘livewire’ it means they are ‘a drunk.’ ‘She’s a bit tricksy’ means ‘she’s a complete bitch.’ …

… ‘You look well,’ means ‘you look fat.’ ‘Help yourself,’ means ‘only take one you greedy pig.’ ‘I might see you later,’ means you definitely won’t, and ‘Right, I must let you get on,’ means ‘I’m bored with this conversation and want to end it now.’ (I’ve used that one a few times.)

Although I have had a number of books published in America (by Solstice Publishing), all my work sells better in the UK. Perhaps this is because, despite knowing about pants and purses, I use more typically British terms and stylistic idiosyncrasies than I realise.

There’s plenty more I could say on this topic. But right now, I’m sure you are busy, so I must let you get on.

If you have enjoyed this post, and would like to read more of my work, please go to one of my Amazon Author pages:

Advertisements

Meet Author Amara A Minx

tia head hotWe’re upping the heat level a bit on my blog today with an interview with Amara A Minx who writes provocative paranormal romance.

When fire destroyed her home and contents, including dozens of finished manuscripts, it was five years before she was able to put pen to paper. Now Amara writes from her home on beautiful Vancouver Island, and has a full time literary career.

Already an avid traveler and an outdoors enthusiast, she became hooked on zip lining, and travels the world in pursuit of what has now become a passion.

 What is the title of your latest book? Tia

 Double Shift is Paranormal Erotic Romance about a dominant wolf shifter and his identical twin seducing their virgin mate while seeking revenge on a sadistic vampire.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 Staying focused on a single project is the most challenging thing for me. Finishing a story is the most rewarding. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you follow through on something you have envisioned from beginning to end.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 Stick with it. There are so many distractions for a new writer. Find a time to write that works in your schedule. I write first thing in the morning before life gets too hectic.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 I am working on the first book in a series that focuses on cougar shifters finding their destined mates.

 What do you like to read?

 Erotic Paranormal Romance is my personal favorite, but I will read just about any genre if it has a romantic element.

 Where can readers find you?

 

 

 

Free download of CAST OFF this weekend.

writingandbreathing

In a bid to beat the mid winter blues – mine and yours – I am offering some of my books for free on Amazon over the next few weeks.

Cast OffThis weekend it is CAST OFF –  a collection of 13 short stories based on female characters in plays by Shakespeare.

Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be doing or thinking when she is not on stage? Does she like the role that has been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? Will she actually go back on stage when it’s her cue?

If you download my book on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th January you can find some answers to all these questions, and more, for FREE. Money back if you don’t find at least one story to your liking!

Amazon…

View original post 3 more words

Free download of CAST OFF this weekend.

In a bid to beat the mid winter blues – mine and yours – I am offering some of my books for free on Amazon over the next few weeks.

Cast OffThis weekend it is CAST OFF –  a collection of 13 short stories based on female characters in plays by Shakespeare.

Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be doing or thinking when she is not on stage? Does she like the role that has been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? Will she actually go back on stage when it’s her cue?

If you download my book on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th January you can find some answers to all these questions, and more, for FREE. Money back if you don’t find at least one story to your liking!

Amazon link:

myBook.to/CastOff

solstice logo (1)

Swear words and story telling.

My YA novel, Girl Friends, features a lot of characters who, in real life, would swear frequently and rather unimaginatively. My initial mistake was to reproduce their conversations faithfully. That is, until a more experienced author pointed out that a) this was boring and b) no publisher of a YA novel would consider publishing my book if it remained in such a raw state. I hope my subsequent re-drafting – which did find a publisher – resulted in a sharper, more readable story. It is certainly a lot shorter!

A problem in real life is that many people use expeltives without realising – in the end it just seems like padding around the small, not necessarily very rude or significant point they want to make. Constant swearing can be tedious to listen to – even more so to read.

Consider the following dialogue, quoted in The Joy of Words, by Fritz Spiegl, purportedly between a soldier charged with rape and his defence lawyer.

“Well, I met this f’kn bird in a f’kn disco and we had a couple of f’kn drinks and went back to her f’kn place to have some f’kn coffee.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well one f’kn thing led to another, and before I f’kn knew where I was, we, you know, we was having sexual intercourse.”

Here the most common expletive in the English language has been used with such a lack of discrimination it has become meaningless, and isn’t used when he gets to the nub of his account.

Or perhaps the soldier was wiser than we think. The word expletive actually comes from the Latin expletus / explere. This does not mean a swear word / to swear, but ‘a filling in’ – exactly how he used the word.

Aside from being a rather long-winded and boring book (in my opinion) maybe DH Lawrence, in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was fighting the wrong battle when he shocked polite society by trying to normalise the use of that particular expletive.

If you would like to read my novel, Girl Friends, or any of my other work, please follow one of the following links:

Girl Friends - coverGirl Friends

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01EX9DPMS

myBook.to/GirlFriends

Amazon Author Pages

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

 

solstice logo (1)

 

 

 

New Year – and a return visit by Susan Lynn Solomon

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a great Christmas, and 2018 is working out well so far. Did you make a New Year resolution? More to the point, are you keeping to it? I like to keep mine loose and general – get a bit fitter, finish a novel – and my deadline is December 31st, so I have plenty of room for slippage and making up.

I have however resolved to keep this blog going during 2018, and have a few things lined up, including – for those of you who have time to read, but no money post Christmas to buy books, a series of tasters and free downloads of my own work during January and February. I also have a number of author interviews lined up, not least with the winner of the Richard and Judy search for a best seller competition, Caz Frear, on January 31st, and with fellow authors from the Solstice publishing house stable earlier in the month.

First up, and a treat for those who like a good who dunnit for a winter evening’s entertainment, I have more from Susan Lynn Solomon, who first appeared on this blog in August 2017. Her latest book, Twas the Season, can help prolong that festive feel-good glow.

Suzy Sol -Twas the Season Cover“How do I get involved in these things?” Emlyn Goode asks.   It’s Christmas Eve. Instead of singing carols around a fire, Emlyn and Roger Frey are at the historic Echo Club for the Niagara Falls police precinct’s annual holiday celebration. Tonight there will be good food, dancing, and time with friends. A joyous night—that is, until the body of a man Emlyn knows too well is found in the Club’s stairwell. Now she refuses to rest until she figures out who killed him, and why.                                                                                                    But, each time Emlyn’s gotten involved in a murder, the killer has come after her. Can she find a clue in her ancient relative’s Book of Shadows before that happens again?

Social Media Links for Susan Lynn Solomon

 Links to her books

About the Author

 Formerly a Manhattan entertainment attorney and a contributing editor to the quarterlySuzy 1 art magazine SunStorm Fine Art, Susan Lynn Solomon now lives in Niagara Falls, New York, the setting of many of her stories.

Since 2007 her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals. These stories include, Abigail Bender (awarded an Honorable Mention in a short romance competition), Ginger Man, Elvira, The Memory Tree, Going Home, Reunion, Yesterday’s Wings, Smoker’s Lament, Kaddish, and Sabbath (nominated for the 2013 Best of the Net). A collection of her short stories, Voices In My Head, has been released by Solstice Publishing.

Susan Solomon is also the author of the Emlyn Goode Mysteries. A finalist in M&M’s Chanticleer’s Mystery & Mayhem Novel Contest, and a finalist for the 2016 Book Excellence Award, her first Emlyn Goode Mystery novel, The Magic of Murder, has received rave reviews, as has the novelette, Bella Vita, and the novel, Dead Again, which is a finalist for the 2017 McGrath House Indie Book of the Year Award. In the latest Emlyn Goode Mystery novelettes, The Day the Music Died, and now in ‘Twas the Season, Ms. Solomon once again demonstrates that murder can have sense of humor.

solstice logo (1)

PS: You can find more about me and my work on:

Amazon author pages: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO            

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

Facebook: fb.me/margaretegrot.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meegrot

 

 

 

 

A Story for Christmas.

This will be my last blog for 2017 so I am signing off with a short story.

Not many people know that there were supposed to be four Magi, but one was sceptical about his friends’ plan, and decided to pull out. Anyway, here is a monologue, as recounted by –

Kevin, the fourth wise man.

 

Phone rings, Kevin picks it up

“Hello? Oh, hi Gaspar, How’s tricks? You planning one of our little adventures? Don’t tellTHREE-WISE-MEN-CYCLE-Preview me – another cruise? No? What did you say? A trek? On camels? All the way to Bethlehem? That sounds more like hard work than a holiday. What’s brought this on?

We’re going to see a baby? Whatever for? Don’t we see enough of our own grandchildren? Not just any baby you say – sorry, the line’s very bad – did you say it’s the son of a Goth? Oh, the son of a God. THE God! 

 Right! You’re not having me on, are you? So this son of God has a palace in Bethlehem we can stay at? Not a palace. A what? A stable – as in a home for a horse?

 I see. Tell me, honestly now, Gaspar, what kind of god gives birth in a stable? What did you say?  God won’t actually be there, just his wife. Someone else’s wife? Not even his wife, his fiancée? And she’s giving birth to the son of God? In a stable?

Gaspar – have you been drinking? You mean you’re telling me all this and you’re stone cold sober? And you’ve already persuaded Balthazar and Melchior to go along? Jeez, are you all mad? But how will you know which way to go? Sat navs don’t work on camels. You’re going to follow a car? Not a car, a star?

No, don’t say anymore. There’s nothing you can possibly add to persuade me to come along this time. No, no. No offence intended or taken. You run along and enjoy yourselves. You can tell me all about it when you get back.

Kevin puts the phone down.

What in Heaven’s name will the old fool come up with next!”

For more of my stories, including at least one free download, go to:

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and that 2018 is as happy and prosperous as you deserve – or better!

Christmas wreath