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A Lesson in Oz-isms

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This is a joke. Sort of.

Whilst over in the US recently, Lexxie C and I were discussing our use of Australianisms and how important it is to us to keep them in our books whenever we can. For us it’s what makes our characters authentically Australian and gives them a unique voice. Whilst many publishers ask their authors to ‘de-oz’ their books (phrase coined by me just now), we’ve both been pretty lucky because we’ve been able to keep most of ours in. Thought I’d share a few of the more recent ones my lovely editor/s has let through to the keeper (a cricketing term meaning let pass).

  • Crack on (said when referring to a person of the opposite sex you’d like to charm out of their pants, i.e. ‘I’m going to crack on to that hot guy who looks like Ryan Gosling if it’s the last thing I ever do!’)
  • Having a lend (Pulling someone’s leg… oh that’s Australian too. Trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes? Using a serious face while telling a tall tale, trying to take someone for a fool, that sort of thing)
  • Piss weak prick (US example might be chicken shit. You are a cowardly bastard who can’t get it up)
  • Punching on (Having a fist fight)
  • Jocks (Mens underwear, specifically brief style. A final line editor recently wondered at the use of the plural. How to explain men don’t wear a jock here? Did she think I was referring to a jock strap? I have no idea. I don’t know where jocks comes from but Australian guys wear either boxers, occasionally boxer briefs, or jocks. Or possibly nothing, but I don’t want to go there)
  • Tracky dacks (Actually I didn’t use this but I was tempted. These are sweatpants. The proper name is tracksuit pants, we affectionally call them tracky dacks {dacks=pants}
  • Fined up (It has ‘fined up’ when it stops raining, i.e., it is now fine {sunny} as opposed to pissing down {raining really hard}.
  • Jumper (This is what we call a sweater. I don’t know why. Because they were initially made of wool and sheep sometimes jump fences, ergo, you’re wearing a jumper? I have a hero and heroine discussing this important issue in a WIP that I’m hoping will find an editor who will let my jumper discussion go through to the keeper, unless she thinks it sucks big hairy dingo balls)

Something to chew on this weekend (something to think about) which is better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick (self explanatory, yes?)

Sami

Aussie Extravaganza

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It was Australia Day yesterday, the 26th of January. To celebrate the Divas are hosting an Australian extravaganza in the Samhain Cafe from 7-9pm US time tonight the 27th. Hope you can join us for some fun and maybe a few freebies too :).

DID YOU KNOW?

 An Australian invented the notepad. For 500 years, paper had been supplied only in loose sheets. Then a stationer from Tasmania named J.A. Birchall decided that it would be a good idea to cut the sheets in half, back them with cardboard and glue them together at the  top. And where would we writers be without notepads?

Australians eat 260 million meat PIES a year, around 13 per citizen. That sounds about right

Australia was the second country to grant women the right to vote. The first was New Zealand in 1893.

It has been reported that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind.

Australia’s first police force was a band of 12 of the most well behaved convicts available.

The Australian Lyre Bird is the world’s best imitator; able to mimic the calls of 15 different species of birds in their locality and string the calls into a melody. Also been known to mimic the sound mobile phones.

 In 1832, 300 female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory mooned the Governor of Tasmania during a chapel service. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”

Rebels, the lot of us.

Hope to see you in the cafe later tonight!

Sami

Happy Fathers’ Day

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A quick Internet search gleaned the information that Father’s Day is not celebrated at the same time in the UK, US or Canada as it is in Australia. Our Dad’s Day is tomorrow, the first Sunday in September. In honour of tomorrow, I thought I’d share a funny story of how my Princess sees her father.

Once upon a time, Princess asked me why Daddy had hair on his legs and I didn’t, and why I had hair on my head but he didn’t. I explained about the conventions of leg shaving and how a good percentage of men lose their hair as they get older. Princess took this under advisement, then suddenly piped up with this: “I know! All Daddy’s hair must have fallen off his head and landed on his arms and legs!”

This from the girl who also recently described my reading material as a book “where the mummy and daddy are kissing on the front, but the daddy’s not wearing a shirt.”

She’s so clever sometimes, it’s scary.

Happy Father’s Day to those in Oz for tomorrow!

To Australia Or Not To Australia?

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I’m a proud Aussie. Anyone familiar with me has probably worked that out by now. The words “fair dinkum”, “crikey”, “struth”, “bloody hell” and “by jingoes” regularly pepper my conversations. There are some Australians who suffer what is known Down Under as the “cultural cringe” – a distinct distaste for the more Aussie elements of our heritage. I’m not one of them. I grew up in the outback and love who I am. What better way to say someone is not pleasant to look at than to say “Jeez, they’re as ugly as a hat full of a*se-holes!”

Okay, maybe there are better ways, but the Aussie way seems, to me at least, to have more visual kick and really, what is language for than to plant images in the minds of those we talk to, no matter the medium?

Having said that, I find myself in a conundrum. When does my love-affair with my own country become too much for my readers? Four of my books have Australian heroes. They say “fair dinkum” often. I’ve written four books set in Australia (well, five, actually, but one is still looking for a home) and have at least another three planned. Each time I write a story set Down Under I research the location in great detail, visiting it often if I can, spending hours on the net if I can’t (contrary to belief, Australia is a bloody big place. I can not drive to the Outback or the Great Barrier Reef in a day). Every time I begin to write, I fall in love all over again with my home country and want my readers to do so as well.

But should I?

Judging by the lukewarm reception to Baz Luhrman’s “Australia” (which is a beautiful, wonderful film, btw) anything Aussie isn’t necessarily warmly welcomed in the rest of the world. What does this mean for me? Does this mean I should transplant my heroes and heroines to far off distant shores and planets? Should I return to my sci-fi roots?

My very first Samhain release was Savage Retribution, a paranormal romance that sees an Irish werewolf fighting for his life in Sydney, Australia. I had lots of fun writing this book. I wanted to show what Australia and Australians are like from a non-Aussie’s point of view. The heroine, Regan, is an animal rights activist who rescues a wolf from a notorious science lab only to discover the wolf is really a man…well, a werewolf. Suffice to say, she’s a little surprised. More so when said man forces her to join him on a mad dash that takes them from Bondi Beach to the opulent suburbs on Sydney’s North Shore, in an attempt to escape the scientist/werewolf hellbent on destroying them both. There’s lots of Sydney locations, lots of Aussie characters and lots and lots of “bloody hells”, “fair dinkums” and the odd “crikey”.

My next release (and the long overdue sequel to Savage Retribution) is Savage Transformation, which sees a Sydney cop (who is also a shape-shifting Tasmanian Tiger) team up with a Texan secret agent (who is also a dire werewolf) in a rather dangerous and personal attempt to hunt down a psychotic serial killer of paranormal creatures. The novel moves from one side of the small island of Tasmania, Australia’s smallest state situated on the bottom of the country and I had an absolute blast “exploring” the lush rainforest terrain. And of course, there’s still more “bloody hells”, “fair dinkums” and one or two “struths”.

There is a third Savage book rolling around in my head (this one set in the Outback) as well as a sequel to Death, The Vamp and His Brother set in Sydney, but should I set them somewhere else?  Am I alienating my international readers by setting my books in my home country?

Or should I say, to hell with it?

They say writers should write what they love, and I love Australia, I really do. So, I guess that answers my problem, doesn’t it.

To Australia or not to Australia? Well, in the immortal words of Men At Work…I come from the land Down Under… and I’m proud of it *grin*

(Little note from Lexxie: This is a reworked blog post I originally posted on The Romance Studio’s blog waaaaaay back in January 2009. I thought it kinda suitable for the Down Under Divas.)