Category: On Writing

Magic or hard-work – I’ll take it

Many writers don’t read fiction while writing it, including yours truly. It’s risky business, akin to rolling a two-sided dice—one will make you rich, the other poor, very poor. No wonder I am voraciously reading my fourth novel in as many months or less as well as a couple of short stories.

I do have to get writing again, working on my second novel that is. Admittedly, however,  I am a bit up in arms about what’s next.  If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have told you The Blindsided Prophet; I started it. I really did but the process got  interrupted, and when this happens, you’re back to the drawing board.

So I am  and interestingly enough, readers are encouraging me to take a page fromThe Barrenness—explore some of the minor themes,  the characters. Naturally, I am carefully considering the feedback. But I am getting edgy.

Going without writing fiction for too long stresses me out and knots up my muscles.  I’m not sure that my right ‘rotator cuff’ muscles would have any flexibility were it not for my monthly short stories and of course, the ayurvedic massage I had on Friday.

What a difference unblocking energy makes, though such massages are not meant for those with low-pain thresholds, but what can I say I did it. When I’m back in London I’ll tell you all about this experience, particularly the aftermath. I was so relaxed  yesterday I had to take a cat nap before I could pack.

A good segue for me to tell you why I’m not sitting at my desk or on my floor in front of the fireplace, writing. I’m in the US yet  again to promote The Barrenness, thanks to my extraordinary publicist JS. Magic or is it?

Absolutely not! It takes hard-work from both publicist and writer,  hers spilling over into the late nights and weekends and mine going into fifth gear about now as I write this blog with unsteady hands and droopy eyelids. Only landed a few hours ago, and at 8.00 EST tomorrow morning, I call in to a television station in up-state New York.

What do you mean I should be in the studio. No  can do, I am in Georgia for another television taping to be aired in a couple weeks and a radio interview Tuesday  morning. Then I travel up the Eastern Seaboard  for quite a few opportunities in Virginia,  DC, and Pennsylvania (Philly)—some live, some taped. Who knows where all of this might end up—New York, NY, I should hope.  Last stop before I return to London.

Debriefings will be posted here, hopefully day to day—first one tomorrow evening.  But for updates and invitations to watch or listen, check out my Facebook page: Sonja Lewis.

If you miss the tour completely, visit my press for playbacks or copies of the interviews.  If you’ve read the novel, join the discussion on what to write next. If you haven’t read it, now is the time. I’m giving away two copies on  Or buy the paperback or digital version from most online retailers.

Now where was I? What page was I on? That’s right, the Kindle doesn’t do page numbers. Never mind, I’m enjoying this fantastic novel all the same and hope to finish it before the writing (well the researching, thinking, planning) begins. If not, I’ll just have to roll the two-sided dice.  Wish me magic? Okay, more opportunities for hard work. I’ll take it!

English: A Conundrum

Next door but one simply means two doors down, so why can’t they just say that?

Still I can’t resist trying out the English vernacular on unsuspecting Americans.  “Ee by gum.” Okay that is taking it a little far, since this comes from Yorkshire meaning “Oh my gosh!” And most people outside of the region won’t have heard of such a phrase, will they?

But seriously, who’s ever heard of donkey’s years? A Chicago friend of mine still thinks I made it up.  And who chivvies someone along when you can hassle her.  And then there is, “now that is just bonkers or barmy.” What about plain old nuts? But I must confess I absolutely love whinging instead of complaining. Much stronger, wouldn’t you agree. And it sounds better.

Come to think of it, most English words just sound more refined giving them an unwarranted complexity: boot for trunk, bonnet for hood and lorry (pronounced Laurie) for truck—yes they refer to a 16 wheeler as a lorry.  Others are flat for apartment, nappy for diaper, post for mail; nought for zero, people carriers for vans, pudding for dessert and solicitor for lawyer, the list goes on.

No wonder books have to be translated.

And what tell of spelling for clarification? Amazingly, the English like to throw in vowels for special effects. For example, they write gynaecologist for gynecologist, alu-min-ium for aluminum.  And overuse the vowel “u” and virtually ignore the consonant “z” or “zed” as they say. For example, color is colour and organize is organise. But hold up, they don’t like to overuse the “s.” So they replace it with a “c” and write defence instead of defense.

And strangely, they do pronounce zebra, zedbra. On that same note they say “shedule” for schedule. We sound the word as if it is spelled sk, and they focus on the sh. Anything spelled wick is pronounced “ick”. Never mind this is another column unto itself.

Continuing on the topic of spelling, there are words with similar spellings and pronunciations, but have slightly or entirely different meanings. For instance, an infant is a baby in the US.  She can’t talk or walk. Over here, an infant could be a school child up to age seven. Also, to Americans, a billion is a thousand million. To the English, it is a million million. Who cares? Editors!

This blog entry would be incomplete without mentioning those ugly words such as learnt and spelt that look like bad grammar, but they are very real. What we Americans call the perfect tense. These are the ones I can’t bear to speak or write unless forced by an English publication.  I do have to make a living here.

However, when left to my own discretion, I avoid such conjugations by a wide margin but once slipped learnt into an email to a learned girlfriend in Atlanta, and she was appalled. I haven’t tried since, not with a fellow writer.

Sadly, I do not have the hang of English pronunciations yet. I still say Warwick, the place in Georgia, not Warick. Get over it!

But I am caught up in their spellings. You only have to look at this website for evidence. Even when I am bound to American English, such as in my novels, I write pyjamas to the horror of my American readers. And centre. No wonder this column is a bit off center.