Tag Archive for: Australia

The Accent Mark Goes Here

 by Bethany Maines

You know how Madonna now talks with a British accent?  And everyone kind of mocks her?  It is annoying to have someone you know grew
up in Michigan try and sound all posh, but at the same time… I would be the
same way.  I once realized that I had
been watching twenty minutes of a cooking show with an Australian host and I
had no idea what was being made.  I’d
spent the entire time watching her mouth trying to figure out how she was murdering
pronouncing her vowels that way.  I
sounded like a monkey on the couch as I clenched and unclenched my teeth trying
“ehhh-oooh-uh” my vowels.  I was two
seconds away from throwing a shrimp on the barbie when my husband came home and
gave me the look that implied that while our marriage was a joy and a blessing,
it was also occasionally weird.

The unfortunate thing is that, just as I’m addicted to
copying other people’s accents, I find that I’m also prone to picking up the
language of whomever I’m reading.  I’m
sure my writing/reading group can tell when I’ve been reading Regency
Romances.  One cannot help but be
addicted to the opulent turn of phrase. 
And if I could work some sort of line about puce satin and a cravat into
the paragraph all the better.  What if
I’m reading fluffy chick lit?  Pretty
sure that my character needs to mention her thighs and a cupcake in the next
sentence.  Taut thrillers? Sentences get
shorter.  Characters become brutal. And
adverbs?  Kill ‘em.  Kill ‘em all. 

The brutal snuffing out of “suddenly” aside, this habit does
real damage to my narratives.  Characters
don’t sound like themselves (why does that Texan sound English?) and plots can
veer wildly off course as I spend a page (or three) describing clothing.  So when I’m writing I have to take a bit of a
hiatus from reading unless I can find that wondrous book that matches the tone
that I’m writing.  I think it’s
incredibly unfair that my reading has suffered as a result of my writing, but
currently it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. 
Of course, if I could just figure out how to retire with a million
dollars so that I could segregate my year into reading quarters and writing
quarters life would be awesome.


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, The Deveraux Legacy Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel.
You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

The Academy Awards

I’m a big movie fan and have been since I was a kid. Big influence was my dad who worked at Paramount as the head plumber. He had some interesting anecdotes about movie stars and how movies were made. In fact, he was the one who figured out how to part the Red Sea in Exodus. Much harder back in the days before computers, he did it with glass, piping and hydraulics. He also spoiled a lot of movies by telling us secrets about how they were made: toy trains instead of real ones, painted scenery in the basement instead of really outdoors, a big tank on the back lot for ocean scenes.

We went to the movies every Friday night and always listened to the Oscars on radio and after they were on TV, of course TV. While I was a kid, dad always told us which of the stars were nice and which weren’t complete with anecdotes.

The best thing about this year’s awards was Hugh Jackman. Who knew the man could sing and dance? The production itself was grand. But, I must admit, I haven’t seen hardly any of the movies. Nowadays the movies that seem to win are about horrible people with angst and unhappy endings. I did enjoy Benjamin Buttons because it was a fairy tale. I saw Changeling too, and it was okay. I loved the L.A. scenes. I was once a phone operator, but the scenes in the movie were before my time, though we had to dress up and wear nylons, no one roller skated. I did ride on the streetcar to get to work though.

The movies I liked best didn’t win anything. Australia was great–like an old time epic film, like Gone With the Wind but with a happy ending. Mama Mia was great fun, saw it with my two grown daughters who danced and sang in the aisles.

It’s time Hollywood made more happy movies to raise our spirits during this difficult economic time.

I have a new interview here: http://tinyurl.com/chudrp

Holiday Crunch

Is everyone beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed like I am?

Some of what’s happening with me is my own fault. I say “yes” when I really ought to say “no.”

We did cut down on Christmas decorating this year because of our three cats. Last year they thought we’d brought them a new toy and they managed to completely denude the tree of all ornaments and broke a lot of them.

I’ve got a bunch of gifts on the bed in the spare room that need to be wrapped. Yes, I know, I said was giving everyone money, and I am, but for those who’ll be over here Christmas Eve, I want them to have a few presents to unwrap.

Saturday I was holed up in the back room of an antique store from 9 to 5 with my books, hoping for people to stop by, chat, have some cookies and hot cider, and maybe buy a book or two. That actually worked out better than you might think. A tour of homes decorated for Christmas was going on and many people stopped at the antique store between houses. There’d been a good article in the local paper about Kindred Spirits, my latest, and I also sent out some invitations.

Next Friday and Saturday I’ll be doing the same thing in the back of Porterville’s Art Gallery on Main St. Hopefully I’ll have some newspaper coverage for that too, I’ve taken the information to the reporter that I have a relationship with (she’s a friend) and a copy of the book. I’ve sent out invites to people who live down there, so we’ll see. But all day, from 10 to 5 is tiring and things pile up at home when I’m gone like that.

I just received an order via PayPal from a book that I just sold the last copies of on Saturday. I’ll have to go up to our local gift shop where I have my books on consignment and get one back so I can mail it since it’s for a Christmas present. (I have ordered more, but they won’t get here in time.) While I’m at the gift store, I’ll resupply what they are out of and give them copies of my latest.

I have a bunch of books I need to review for a writer’s organization I belong to. Truly, I don’t mind doing it, in fact I usually enjoy the books, but it’s going to be hard to squeeze it in with all that’s going on right now.

And guess what, hubby and I decided to play hooky this morning and go see Australia. We went to breakfast first then headed to the movie which started at 11:30 a.m. A warning, it lasts for three hours though I can assure you it doesn’t seem that long. It was a wonderful movie, like an old time epic Western. Watching Hugh Jackman take a shower was quite a highlight.

So now I’m home, trying to play catch-up while my chili-beans cook in the slow cooker. (Put them in early this a.m. before I left home.)

Seems like I don’t ever really get caught up.

Though I’m putting the finishing touches on another Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery–still reading it to my critique group–I really need to start putting together another Rocky Bluff P.D. novel. Have some ideas, but that’s about it right now.

So, I’ll try to finish up a few things before dinner. Hope you all are more organized than I am at this point. But do take time out and enjoy yourself like we did today.