As a transplant to America myself (yes, I still type "colour" and "odour"...MS Word fixes it for me), I totally sympathize with Diane Saxon's difficulties when writing the American way. Being a perennial expatriate, my manuscripts often return with a few question marks over phrases I find second nature (do people really not say "potable water" on a regular basis?). Since misery loves company, Diane and I are going to commiserate for a bit, before introducing you to her newest release from Hartwood Publishing.
Writing the American Way
by Diane Saxon
When I sent my first manuscript, Loving Lydia, out to publishers, little did I know that it would be a U.S. publisher that picked it up and ran with it, and me. Since then, I have learnt so much about writing, but one of my first lessons was how to write in U.S. English and not U.K. English.
I’ve read predominantly American authors for as long as I can remember. I love my Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Rose etc, these are the authors who fill my bookcase and I’m quite comfortable with reading U.S. English.
So, you’d think it would be easy, wouldn’t you? Change the Word dictionary from U.K. to U.S. and away you go. Don’t forget to take out all of the extraneous ‘u’s – e.g. color, not colour, odor, not odour and change learnt to learned, dreamt to dreamed. Not so very hard really. The dictionary can help me there.
But then I received my manuscript back from my editor and I realised just how wrong a girl could be. Word dictionary doesn’t tell you to replace wardrobe with closet, pavement with sidewalk. Car boot is a trunk, car bonnet is a hood. Well, heavens, whoever would have known?
Even now, a few years on, I still have hilarious conversations with my editor when she says “Diane, what do you mean by this..?”
I have found though that I’ve started to naturally produce U.S. English when I’m writing a manuscript, because I still have a cowboy in my head and his language skills have developed along with my own. So when he talks, it’s in American.
And when I write articles and blogs? Well, the English in me just jumps straight back in.
Disarmed and Dangerous Book 2
by Diane Saxon
Black Hawk pilot Captain Barbara Lynn Perry is running scared. Witness to an event too horrible to think about and too dangerous to talk of, she finds herself alienated from a world she has always had faith in.
With her Special Forces brother missing, she has only one other person to turn to. When her friend Flynn Swann isn’t available, Barbara is left with no choice but to trust the man Flynn sends to save her.
Psychiatrist Dominic Salter’s information from her superior officer’s file is that Barbara has gone rogue. Despite the damning evidence, every instinct tells him he’s dealing with an honorable woman, one who single-handedly saved Flynn from torture and a sure death. Dominic’s challenge is to delve his way beneath her tough, defensive attitude and coax the truth from a woman who’s too frightened to reveal her dark secret.
In his brand new facility containing a state of the art Dreampsych Transcender he’s experimenting with, a machine far beyond a simulator, Dominic has to gain the trust and confidence of Barbara while he resists the hard pull of attraction to this kick-ass woman.
Betrayed by a member of his staff, events take a sinister turn, and the pressure is on in a fight against time for Dominic to persuade Barbara to put her trust in him and reveal the truth before matters are taken out of his hands.
She raised a shaky hand to rub her fingertips over taut lips and tried to swallow, but her tongue was too thick to allow it, her mouth too dry to comply. She held the same hand horizontally in front of her face and watched the vague tremble. The tremor that threatened her sharp shot. The shake that no longer allowed her to pick up a glass of whiskey without being a dead giveaway.
She needed help.
Flynn could help.
She’d saved his life, goddammit. Of course he would help.
So she waited in the silent twilight for Flynn to come.
Pitch black descended and still no sign of the man. So dark she could no longer see the trembling hand in front of her face, but the sweat still formed in the creases along her palm, making her hand slip as she tightened her grip on the gun. She swapped it over from right to left while she rubbed the damp onto the leg of her black yoga pants. It made no difference, she could shoot as well with one hand as the other. Not that she could see to shoot, but she hadn’t imagined for one moment Flynn would have kept her waiting this long, and dark would close in before he arrived.
She’d hunkered down in the comfort of the straw, her mind filled with visions of blood and gunshots while night descended faster than she’d realized.
She’d kept Flynn waiting three nights previously. God only knew how long he’d waited for her, but she’d listened to her sixth sense, believed someone else was there at the meeting point, and she’d hightailed it out of there, leaving Flynn to his own devices. He was still a tough cookie. No point in her hanging around to save him. She’d already saved his sorry ass once before.
The dim light of the stables flickered on and filled the place with a dull buzzing sound. Cautious, she straightened and moved toward her target. The cowboy seemed to be the right height, but it looked like Flynn had gone to seed since leaving the Special Forces three years earlier. She’d heard rumors he hadn’t coped well with civilian life. Probably more to do with having half his face carved up. She twitched her nose in distaste. The voices of the men who had tortured him filled her head, the vicious sound of their hyena cackles as they cut Flynn with glee. It hadn’t been the prettiest of sights, but she’d seen worse. She’d even killed men herself, but never for fun. Only out of necessity, duty, and a desperate desire to live.
It was the pleasure they’d taken out of torturing a man that had turned her stomach. Not that anyone knew. She’d die before she allowed anyone to see her eakness. It looked like she may have to, after recent events. She’d thought she’d never witness anything worse than Flynn’s torture. But she had.
About Diane Saxon
Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, one-eyed kitten, ginger cat, four chickens and a new black Labrador puppy called Beau, whose name has been borrowed for her hero in For Heaven's Cakes.
After working for years in a demanding job, on-call and travelling great distances, Diane gave it all up when her husband said “follow that dream”.
Having been hidden all too long, her characters have burst forth demanding plot lines of their own and she’s found the more she lets them, the more they’re inclined to run wild.