Pub culture

So, Lucy and I have a Super! Secret! Project! that we’re working on and we’ve been discussing bits and pieces of it. One such bit was discussed at coffee today, and that’s the Local Pub culture that seems to permeate English boroughs and towns.

Lucy was telling me about the Christian O’Connell breakfast show airing on Absolute Radio in the UK. Thanks the wonders of the internets, we can download a podcast here in dear old Oz. They were chatting about hanging out at their local, and Lucy realised this was something that seemed entrenched in English culture.

A lot of social activity revolves around the pub. Perhaps it’s a call back to the days of the village market, and the social interaction the trip to a common meeting place signified. Anyhoo, it seems ‘the local’ is the place to be, where you go after a hard day’s work to hang out with your mates and watch the football with a pint or two.

Further to this, it seems the pub is segregated into various bits. The older ladies might sit in one corner, the young blokes in another, the older gents at the bar and the young lasses on the tiny dance floor.

This is such an interesting phenomenan, and one that warrants further investigation…Anyone want finance a trip to England for me so I can, ahem, study this?? ;p

– Cassandra

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Syntax, Sex and Soy Lattés

If you were a fly on the pillar next to where Cassandra and I were sitting today at The Coffee Club (and big shout-out to all the staff there who always greet us with a smile and the words “the usual?”), then you probably would have been gobsmacked and flabbergasted at the road our topic of conversation took. No, we actually weren’t talking about sex – I just threw that into the title because I knew it would get your attention. We were actually sitting there, talking about ‘syntax’ (and vernacular – but that doesn’t begin with an “s” so I left it out).

Due to our super-secret project (shhh), we were talking about how, although those of us who live in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom all speak “English” we still have different syntax for the same thing.

Eg: In America, if your character was lighting a candle, you would write: “Helena lighted the candle.”

In Australia, you would write: “Helena lit the candle.”

In the UK, if your character was standing right next to another character, you would write: “John was stood next to Agatha.”

In Australia, you would write: “John was standing next to Agatha.”

Even if we just take a quick look at the humble bathing suit, it can be known as: Bathers; Swimmers; Trunks; Cozzie – and those are just from the different States in Australia!

Hand-me-down cozzie

enjoying a little… garden bathing – 1970.

The point we were chatting about today over our coffees, was that if you’re writing a story set in a different country, or where your characters come from a different country, then their speech patterns should reflect this. That means research… and if research means that Cassandra and I must go and live in another country in order to accurately complete our “super secret project” (shhh) – then so be it!

I won’t say “good-bye” because in Australia, we prefer – “see ya later”.

Lucy– the soy latté drinker.

(lactose intolerance is not fun)

Ball dropping

Hi peeps,

Well, this is me. Dropping the ball.

I had grandiose plans of posting a wonderful blog entry about burlesques and cabarets and super fun things like that. Sounds nifty, no? This post was also supposed to go live last Thursday.

…It’s now Monday.

I have no excuse, peeps, apart from Reasons. Damn those dasterdly Reasons, they will sneak up on one.

So, in lieu of a fantastic, you beaut post that should have gone up on Thursday (gah), I shall leave you with an exclusive excerpt from Rough Diamond and my apologies. Hearfelt apologies, with sprinkles and tiny, blindingly brilliant stars.

– Cassandra

Rough Diamond by Cassandra Dean Decadent Publishing Western Escape

Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.

Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.

Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?

~ EXCERPT ~

Grinning, Alice basked in the wake of a successful Spectacular. She was so damn proud of herself she could burst, and the success of the night proved once again she always panicked for no reason. Such feeling was a distant memory now, drunk as she was on all that had passed between that moment and this.

Everything in the Spectacular had gone exactly as expected, each act more successful than the last. Pearl had sounded magnificent, and the girls had been at turns luminous and cheeky, seducing the crowd with practiced ease. Even Marie, for all her tantrums, had wooed them all with her snake dance. The Amazing Waldino had, perhaps, not been as amazing as she’d hoped, but thankfully the Tranmere Twins and their death-defying antics had remedied any lull the Kind-of-Average Waldino had caused.

Residual excitement thrummed in her blood, leaping across her skin and making her want a million things. She could plan a hundred Spectaculars—no, a thousand—and each would be more magnificent than the last.

Rubbing her arms, she exhaled in an attempt to force calm. She suffered this in the aftermath of each Spectacular. Such feelings were impractical and unrealistic, but with triumph flowing through her, she was certain she could take it all on and more. The feeling would pass, though. It always did.

“The Spectacular was magnificent.”

Her breath seized. The presence of another where before she’d been alone made her heart slam against her ribs. Whirling around, she prepared to lambaste whoever had disturbed her. Everyone in her employ knew to leave her be after a performance.

Framed by the drapes of the wings, hands in his pockets, and waistcoat unbuttoned, stood Llewellyn.

A war of emotion erupted inside her. Annoyance, desire, residual excitement…but mostly annoyance. She hated being disturbed, and for all she had thought to seek him out, she wanted to do so when she was ready. “The theater is closed. You shouldn’t be here.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “No, I shouldn’t.”

She frowned. There was something wrong about him. He was too…still. “Then what are you doing here?”

“I had to congratulate you.” Dark eyes regarded her steadily. “The Spectacular was brilliant.”

Unsure of this new Llewellyn, she remained motionless. “Thank you?”

“No, truly. You deserve the highest of commendations. I could never have imagined such in the middle of nowhere.” He didn’t move, or fidget, or any of the hundred other ticks he’d always displayed in her presence.

“No. No one else offers the service I provide.”

“And thus you possess a monopoly.” He smiled, a slow, easy smile that he hadn’t shown before. “Well done, indeed.” His gaze flicked over her, and when his eyes returned to hers, a fire smoldered in their depths. “I like your dress.”

Beneath her folded arms, her heart stuttered and the muscles in her stomach tensed. Finally, it clicked what was different about him.

Everything.

His words, his stance, the way he spoke, all was different. His waistcoat was unbuttoned, his shirt white against the forest-green silk, and though still pomaded, his hair had come askew, a dark curl lying against his forehead.

Everything was different. But most notably, above and beyond any surface change, he no longer played the fool.

Triumph surged through her, and she grasped that emotion over the other, more unsettling ones his appearance caused. She knew she had been right. “You seem to have gained an alarming amount of intelligence, Mr. Llewellyn.”

His smile widened.

She lifted a brow. “Care to explain the pretense?”

Shaking his head, he maintained his smile. “Not at this juncture.”

“Will you?”

“Perhaps.”

The intensity with which he looked at her affected her something terrible. She felt hot, and flustered, and she didn’t know what she wanted. The overwhelming excitement at the conclusion of a Spectacular returned, but now it had a focus. Him.

This was getting her nowhere fast. Annoyance marched through her, at his caginess, at her own damn fascination with a man intent on lying to her. “So, if you aren’t a fool, what are you?”

Removing his hands from his pockets, he moved toward her. Gaze steady on hers, he stopped close, so close she could see his eyes weren’t truly black but instead the darkest of browns. She froze, unsure what would happen but desperate to discover. He didn’t touch, did nothing more inappropriate than stand too close.

Then, he leaned down, and his lips brushed her ear. “Fascinated.”

The importance of being named

I have a terrible time naming my characters. I’m very particular about names. Names mean something, names are important and can really define a personality. For my protagonists, there is much deliberation before the starting a story but for secondary characters, it’s usually whatever name I can pull from the air first. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find me looking off into space, when I need to come up with a new name for a secondary character.

I sit at my desk. I look around me. I search for anything that’s going to give me some help. I have several different dictionaries on my desk and as an example, my medical dictionary is credited to Robert M. Youngson so you can bet your bottom dollar that somewhere in one of my stories is a Mr Roberts or a Mr Young or a Mrs Robertson.

I’ve just finished writing a six part mini-series for the Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance line where I created a family – the Goldmark’s – and proceeded to tell the stories of how the members of this large and extended family eventually find true happiness after experiencing much hardship. Several of the stories are set around a fictitious town near Australia’s snowy mountains, called Oodnaminaby. Now if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ll have some idea how I came up with the name of this town. 😉

Some of the other books in the Goldmark Series, were set in an outback town and before I tell you the name this town eventually received, I feel I should also let you know that when I write, I usually have headphones on, listening to loud, blaring music. As with finding the right name for my protagonists, so it may take a few chapters to find the right music to suit the storyline. Music can be highly inspirational, helping to set the mood and tone within my mind, so that creativity can be unlocked and the words can flow. (at least, that’s what I tell myself is happening as I play another game of Spider Solitaire)

So as I sat there, trying to figure out what on earth to call this new outback town, I closed my eyes and listened the music of Huey Lewis and the News. This is an 80’s band I have loved since… well since the 80’s. I have most of their records, which I now have on CD or iTunes and for this particular outback book, for some strange reason, Huey Lewis and the News was the music of choice to get me in the mood to create.

And now I’ll bet you can guess what I called that little outback town. That’s right, it’s Lewisville, which is nestled in the electoral district of Hueyton. That story is Falling For Dr Fearless and it’s out in Australian stores right now or available in ebook at:

Book 4 in The Goldmark Series

 

 

http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781460885055

 

Other books in the Goldmark Series:

 

  • The Boss She Can’t Resist
  • Taming the Lone Doc’s Heart
  • Diamond Ring for the Ice Queen
  • Falling for Dr Fearless

 

Soon to be released:

 

  • A Socialite’s Christmas Wish
  • Dare she Dream Forever?

 

Lucy