Monday, June 15, 2015

English is English, Right?

Hi, my name is Brenda St John Brown and I'm thrilled to be part of Across the Board. Since this is my intro post, I'm going to babble a bit by way of introduction because normally I'd ask you about your earrings or something so I don't have to talk about myself, but I'm not even sure you're wearing earrings, so I can't really ask you where you got them. (Are you? Wearing earrings? Because if you are, I bet they look fabulous.)

I'm the resident romance writer here, writing kissing scenes across the board from YA to adult fiction. My New Adult contemporary romance, SWIMMING TO TOKYO, published with Spencer Hill Contemporary last July and my self-published adult romantic suspense, LIES WE LIVE, comes out June 22. (More in a future post about this self-publishing journey. It's a ride and a half, no?) 

Other things to know about me:

  • I have a life-long love affair with Doritos.
  • Climate change alarms me and I've been known to stay up at night obsessing over water supply.
  • I have a boy who just turned 10. He's super English, although he still calls me "mom", which makes me happy.
  • And, right...I'm a native New Yorker, living in a tiny village in Northwest England.
About that - my husband I moved to London nearly 8 years ago for what was supposed to be an 18-month move and here we are. When we were offered the chance to move back to New York or to The North (as it's referred to on the road signs), we chose The North.

Living in the UK has been amazing, although the weather is crap. Summer here is about 72 degrees tops and I've never been swimming outside in this country. However, the thing that's surprised me the most is how British English has crept into my English. As Brianna Lebrecht, who copyedited LIES WE LIVE, can testify -- it's more often than I think!

So, here's a little quiz for you. Below is the British English word...can you name the American equivalent?

The Plough

I'll pop the answers into the comments, but talk about two countries divided by a common language. And then there's the slang! I still don't have the hang of the slang in The North. Tea = your evening meal. Dinner = lunch? What?? I thought tea was a drink (milk and one sugar, please) and dinner was, well, dinner. I pledge allegiance...Long live the Queen.

The Boy is learning British spelling and I'm not, but I've assimilated and this is your warning that the occasional phrase might slip past my internal editor. Feel free to call me on it -- or anything else. (I mean, don't actually call me. Like most writers, I hate talking on the phone and texting is a glorious thing.) Phone phobias aside, though, I'm super excited to be here and talk writing, romance and other random things. If there's anything YOU want to know, let me know, too!


  1. WELCOME! I'm so excited to see you here! I know some of the above words, like trainer, pants, trolley, and crisps. I adore British accents, which has drawn me to such things as Doctor Who (well, I sort of fell into that because it's awesome...the accents are just a happy bonus) and One Direction. I also happen to love the difference in words. A friend of mine is from the UK and she complimented me on my Wellies. I love it!

    1. I never had Wellies before I moved here, but they're a requirement!! And thank you so much for bringing me onboard. It's so nice to be here. :)

  2. P.S. I'm pretty stoked about June 22nd!

    1. Me too! I'm also NERVOUS! It varies depending on the day and how much coffee I've had, but on a scale of 1-10, I don't think I'll be lower than a 5 until two weeks from now!

  3. Cheat sheet for above British English:
    Coriander = cilantro
    Aubergine = eggplant
    Courgette = zucchini
    Biscuit = cookie
    Bap = bread roll
    Trainer = sneaker
    Pants = underpants
    Trolley = shopping cart
    Crisps = potato chips
    Dummy = pacifier
    Flannel = washcloth
    Flyover = overpass
    The Plough = The Big Dipper

  4. yay!!! Glad to have you on board! Also, here's to Doritos being the best snack food ever :-)

  5. Welcome, Brenda! I knew a few of your words since one of my new good friends at my gym in a Brittish expat. I make her teach me a new word at least once a week - one of my favorites is plaster (bandage) :-) I'm super excited to have you on board and I can't wait to check out your books!!

    1. Thank you! I like plaster, too. And, b/c somewhere inside I'm a six-year-old boy, rubber for eraser. I crack up inside every time The Boy asked me where his rubber is. :)

  6. Welcome! I love the UK! I have a bestie who lives there so I know a lot of words on your list. Except for bap. That one I didn't know. I also love Doritos.

    1. The first time I went into a sandwich shop and they asked me if I wanted a bap, I was all like, "Um...yes? Maybe? I have no idea!!!" Thankfully Doritos are the same all over the world, at least as far as I've found!

  7. Isn't coriander just the seeds of the cilantro plant?

    1. I don't know, to be honest. But when I buy the fresh leaves in the grocery store to put in salsa, etc., I buy coriander.

  8. Welcome to ATB, Brenda! I can't tell you how jealous I am that you live in England. My wife and I visited London a few years ago and didn't want to leave. Look forward to your future posts!

    Flyover = flyover state, like Indiana?:)

    1. I love London. We lived there for nearly 6 years and it was amazing! Although, I have to say, I'm a big fan of the English countryside now. It's a totally different life -- feels like stepping back in time a bit. Re Indiana -- I've never been there, but I probably have flown over it, come to think of it. might be on to something.


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