Friday, December 21, 2012

Aurelia B. Rowl dishes on Americanizing -- her vocabulary, that is!

Season's Greetings, folks!

Today the talented Aurelia B. Rowl is here with us.  

Aurelia, take it away...

The sun was blazing down, and the crystal blue water in the swimming pool glistened and sparkled as the sound of my children’s laughter rang out. Yes, I wrote a large chunk of Christmas Is Cancelled whilst on a family holiday, staying in a gorgeous villa in Majorca along with my husband’s family.

It was great.

But not exactly conducive to writing a winter story, complete with snowy hills and Christmas carols. I then finished the story during the Summer – if you can call what we had here in the UK “Summer”, it was more of a damp squib – but nevertheless, the story turned out fine.

Editing was positively painless; just a few run-on sentences, repeated words/phrases, some simultaneous actions and, the one I had to look up (hooray for the internet)… the occasional misplaced modifier. The actual content wasn’t touched and I took a great deal of pride from the fact my first ever completed manuscript wasn’t ripped to shreds.

But can you guess what I did stumble over during the edits? Especially the pre-edits stage?

I’ll give you a clue… I am British. My publisher is Canadian. My editor is American.

You think writing a book in English would be easy, wouldn’t you, what with being English and living in England? Think again…

My first task was the change the default dictionary in MS Word from UK English to US English. That took care of changing a lot of my ‘s’ to ‘z’, for example: recognising became recognizing, psychoanalyse became psychoanalyze. Okay, cool. Got that. It also removed some extraneous double ‘l’ words, for example: travelled became traveled, revelled became reveled… And, of course, my ‘re’ endings became ‘er’, for example: centre became center.

Then came the trickier ones: manoeuvre became maneuver, prised became pried, kerb became curb, grey became gray, and hob had to be removed altogether to be replaced by stove. I even lost some of my ‘st’ endings, like whilst, and amongst. At least there weren’t any bonnets to convert to hoods, or boots to convert to trunks. Yet a surprising number of words were simply lost in translation, very strange, and I found myself wondering when English to English had become so tricky?

Does that mean I now write in US English all the time, like several British authors have taken to doing? Heck no, I’d never get anything finished. It would be akin to peeling my fingernails off to consciously spell words ‘incorrectly’, and I doubt I could train myself, even if I wanted to. And how bad would I feel when my young son brought his spellings home from school, and I made him get some wrong because I was still in US mode?

Uh-uh! No, thank you. Did you feel the tremor when I shuddered? I shall continue to write in my home language. If a manuscript gets picked up by another US/Canadian publisher, I’ll worry about translating it – ha!! – then, and not before. I may even get a British publisher next time and would only have to change it all back again, after taking twice the length of time to write it in American to begin with. And you can be sure my self-published titles will be published in UK English, even if I have to include a glossary at the back.

I know I can’t be the only one, and it would be interesting to see how other British authors get around the writing in US English conundrum. Do you write in ‘American’ as you go, or do you translate after? And if you’re an American (or Canadian) reader, what UK English words trip you up and make you scratch your head, or fire up trusty Google?

About Christmas is Cancelled…

Matilda 'Tilly' Carter didn't think her day could get any worse, but even Christmas had just been cancelled.

The one girl Dean Watson has sworn never to have—never even expected to see again—just flared back into his life and into his home—his sanctuary—like she belonged there. Christmas would certainly be more bearable with Tilly around though…

As the chinks in Dean's armor appear, Tilly seizes the chance to win her knight once and for all. She's not about to take no for answer—not this time—but Dean must resist, even as his heart rebels and temptation threatens to undermine his resolve.

Win or lose? Love or honor? Which will Dean choose? Assuming he gets a choice…



Tears welled in her eyes, clouding her vision. She turned and wandered blindly toward the exit as the first tear escaped, forging a track down her cheek for the rest to follow. Tilly took in a lungful of air and then another. Having made a spectacle of herself once already, she really didn't want to be the cause of yet another scene.


The crowds swarmed around her, with students and family members heading home for the holidays only adding to the usual rush-hour melee of commuters. They jostled past, threatening to swallow her whole, as they rushed en mass in the opposite direction, using their briefcases and suitcases as a battering ram.


It was suffocating. She had to get out of there. Breaking into a run, broken heel or not, she raced through the doors and out into the biting December chill. Her waterlogged eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, dreary sky after the bright station lights, but she didn't dare slow down, desperate to escape the throng of festivities and merriment.


Carol singers assembled outside burst into a jovial rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," full of joy and happiness. Didn't they know Christmas had just been cancelled?


"Ooof!" Tilly smacked her shin against the edge of a low bench, too dark to see as she tried to dodge the growing audience. She ended up sprawled across the bench, dropping the handle of her suitcase with a loud clatter.


At least the pain shooting down her leg gave her an excuse to be crying. Unfortunately, it meant she had to stop running too. Not good. Whenever things got too tough, too intimate, or too confrontational, you could rely on her to make a run for it. Running away was what she did best...


A tall figure loomed in the edge of her vision, something vaguely familiar about the man's loping gait. In an effort to see him more clearly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, then cringed inwardly at the black streaks now etched all over them. Great. She could add impersonating a panda to her day from hell as well then.


The mascara stung her eyes, rendering her unable to focus properly. She blinked furiously as the man strode past her, talking into a mobile phone in a deep voice that resonated throughout her body and made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. A surge of adrenaline rushed to her legs, numbing the pain as her subconscious told her to run. Now!


The cloaked figure stopped mid-stride as if he'd heard her gasp. "Mike, I've gotta go," he barked into the phone, hanging up instantly. He backtracked until he was standing right in front of her, his tone changing from a growl to one of surprise. "Basmati?"


Great. She hadn't heard the nickname for years—nine years, four months and...sixteen days, to be exact—and even then, only one person had ever actually used it. She screwed her eyes tightly shut, shaking her head from side to side. No. No way. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to her. Not now. Not today of all days... Talk about kicking a girl when she was down.

Buy links:
Breathless Press
Amazon UK
All Romance Books

Barnes & Noble – coming soon

iTunes – coming soon

About Aurelia…

Aurelia B Rowl is a contemporary romance author but you can also find her masquerading as Allie A Burrow, her raunchier alter-ego.

She lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband and their two fantastic children aged 5 and 3, along with their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. They are all used to her getting too caught up with her latest writing project... or five!... and she is guiltily counting down the months until she has both kids at school full-time.  

To find out more about Aurelia, or to check out what projects she's working on right now, you can visit her website


You can also find her hanging out on:



  1. Hi Carmen, good to be here!
    Hi Aurelia, being that thorough with the word changes sounds quite daunting, must have been a relief to get it all done. Big congrats on your book release...definitely a very intriguing title. Wish you huge sales :)

    1. Hi Ruchita, thanks so much for stopping by during crazy holiday season! :)
      The book lives up to its title, too! lol. Wonderful read!

    2. Thank you Ruchita, I still can't believe it's all real so I'm going to enjoy it for as long as possible.

      It was quite daunting in a way; silly things like dropping the 'u' from colour and flavour were other differences that I had to look out for. Hurray for spellcheck!

  2. Hi Carmen and Aurelia. Great to learn a bit more about your 'editing' process. I've just started to read Christmas is Cancelled...and loving it! Merry Christmas girls. x

    1. Hi Sam!

      Isn't it fantastic? :)

      Merry Christmas, darling! Feliz Natal ;)

    2. Haha, I just googled Feliz Natal... Luca says, Feliz ano novo! (I think thats correct?!) x

    3. Hi Sam, I hope you're getting stuck in and still loving it!

      And I have enough trouble with English to English these days, so can I just say "ditto" (even if it makes me think of Patrick Swayze in Ghost LOL)

    4. Sam, that's right! LOL! Feliz Ano Novo :)

      Aurelia, OMG I love Ghost. My mom was obsessed with it and I watched it a lot growing up. Ditto ;)

  3. Hi Aurelia and Carmen - I sympathise (or should that be sympathize?!)! I have a UK publisher, an American one and a Canadian one... and when I self published I was torn between which market to please!! I write in good old UK English - because that is what comes naturally, but use the " speech marks, rather than ', as it is then easy to do a global change (impossible the other way round!). The biggest problem I've hit is that I write a lot of erotic romance, and some of the rude words just don't mean the same at all in America :-)
    Hope you both have a great Christmas!

    1. Well I wouldn't know about rude words. Uh-uh, not me. Can't you see my halo shining? No? Aww shucks!

      I also do the double speech marks for dialogue, it's how I was taught at school anyway, and yes, it makes it much easier for blanket changes.