Geneva: Thoughts on Relative Fame

Geneva: Thoughts on Relative Fame

I’m in Geneva to give a talk at a linguistics conference with an Atelier Saussure-Chomsky (atelier = workshop). A good reason such a conference is held in Geneva is because the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) lived and taught here. The American linguist Noam Chomsky is, presumably, included because he is the most famous linguist of the second half of the 20th century.

read more…

Five Questions with Ilona Andrews

Five Questions with Ilona Andrews

I’m having so much fun connecting with all the smart authors and bloggers I’ve met online. This is the latest entry in my series of conversations with other romance authors, who join us to share about their creative process, their habits, their inspiration, and more. Our guest today is Ilona Andrews who is a New York Times best selling author and is actually two people: Ilona and Gordon—a husband & wife team. They will be joining me on the panel of the Gender Feminism, Sexuality, and the Romance Novel Symposium in February.  read more…

What I’m Reading V: Scandinavian Trilogy

What I’m Reading V: Scandinavian Trilogy

Reading is an important part of writing. Reading instructs, and reading inspires. I’m rarely without a book. I love reading at home. I also love reading on the road, where I spend a lot of time. If you ever feel a bit of writer’s block, reading a good book will always get the creative energy flowing again. Just like the tennis player who gets better by playing with stronger players, I like reading writers who challenge me to be a better writer.

Need a reason to read a romance? Check out my thoughts about why romances make us happy

I’m excited to share this new series, What I’m Reading, with you. I hope you’ll find that some of my picks will open up new reading avenues for you.

What are you reading these days? 

I recently made my own Scandinavian trilogy by reading three books in a row – A Man Called Ove, Blind Goddess and Smilla’s Sense of Snow – set in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark/Greenland, respectively. read more…

Going to Geneva, Switzerland

Going to Geneva, Switzerland

Title Photo: Lake Neuchâtel – viewed from the train going from Basel to Geneva

Basel to Geneva, by way of Biel in the mountains, is an extremely pleasant two-and-a-half-hour train ride.

Swiss trains are a dream. The schedule is precise, and the ride is smooth as silk. It doesn’t hurt that you have the gorgeous Swiss countryside to look out on. read more…

Mulhouse, France at a Glance

Mulhouse, France at a Glance

Mulhouse (pronounced: moolooze) is near the top of the map in France, a bit north and west of Basel. It is in the historic province of Alsace.

Since I was hanging around Basel for a few days, I decided it would be a good idea to do a day-trip to Mulhouse, France, since it’s only a 25-minute train ride from Basel. Immediate point: not all my ideas are good ones.

First – and this is no fault of Mulhouse – it was very cold and dreary with a bitter wind blowing. Here’s a Mulhouse view of the icy Rhine that also flows through Basel. read more…

Basel, Switzerland at a Glance

Basel, Switzerland at a Glance

Title Image: A view of Basel’s Old Town from the Rhine River

Happy New Year! And New Year 2017 has me in Switzerland – first stop Basel. I’m giving a talk at a linguistics conference in Geneva in a few days so I thought I’d expand my excursion a bit.

First impression: everything is gray, unrelenting gray. I hasten to note that I just came from Florida, so my perceptions are out of sync with winter in northern climates. read more…

What I’m Reading IV

What I’m Reading IV

Reading is an important part of writing. Reading instructs, and reading inspires. I’m rarely without a book. I love reading at home. I also love reading on the road, where I spend a lot of time. If you ever feel a bit of writer’s block, reading a good book will always get the creative energy flowing again. Just like the tennis player who gets better by playing with stronger players, I like reading writers who challenge me to be a better writer.

I write romance, and I tend to read romance. However, my notion of what counts as a romance is capacious, and I definitely count the lushly conceived Memoirs of a Geisha and The Far Pavilions in the category. Although not a romance, I recently read The Art of Seduction, and it is nothing if not instructive!

Need a reason to read a romance? Check out my thoughts about why romances make us happy

I’m excited to share this new series, What I’m Reading, with you. I hope you’ll find that some of my picks will open up new reading avenues for you.

What are you reading these days? 

read more…

English Settings III: Americanisms/Anachronisms

English Settings III: Americanisms/Anachronisms

This is the sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms and English Settings II: British Slang.

english-setting-3

I’ll start where I started twice before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English.

Namely, American English.

It’s one thing to adopt British vocabulary and slang. It’s another thing to get rid of Americanisms. It was John Witherspoon in the 18th century who pointed out that Americans but not the British use the word mad to also mean ‘angry’ and fall to also mean ‘autumn.’ So that’s a start. read more…

English Settings II: British Slang

English Settings II: British Slang

This is a sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms.

english-setting-2

I’ll start where I started before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English.

In my earlier blog I said that British slang was a category unto itself and completely delightful. So it’s getting its own treatment here. I’ve been reading gobs of British police procedurals and decided to make a list of all the usages that struck me as interesting or, at least, different than American English usages. read more…

English Settings I: Britishisms

English Settings I: Britishisms

So you’re an American novelist and you’ve decided to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English.

If your story is set in France it’s perfectly legit for your characters not to speak French if they happen to be, say, American. If your setting is England, however, you cannot avoid British English. read more…