British English vs American English in fiction

English. What a wonderful language, but how irritating that it comes in two flavours (flavors.) How should an author handle this problem?

If you’re a British author writing for a British audience, you can simply use British spellings. Colour. Organisation. Defence. Similarly for American writers – use American spellings. Color. Organization. Defense.

But what if you want to make your book as accessible as possible? Tricky. Continue reading

View from the office window

June is my favourite month. Spring has drifted quietly into Summer, and the days are nearly at their longest. The weather can only continue to get better, and there’s everything still to look forward to.

Some days may bring storms, but at this time of year it’s much easier to remember that on the whole, life is good.

The next economic era is here

The world my children inhabit looks superficially like the world I grew up in during the 1970s. The house they live in, the clothes they wear and the food they eat – none of these would be very strange to the kids of a generation ago (although even here there are notable differences.) But the way they spend their time is completely different to anything I dreamed of doing.

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Salt assault

We all know that salt in our diet contributes to stroke and coronary artery disease. What I didn’t realize until very recently was just how important it is. But a BBC Radio 4 interview with Graham MacGregor yesterday quickly fixed my misunderstanding. Continue reading

George RR Martin, the master

I started reading George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire reluctantly. My expectations were low. The book didn’t start well, with a confusing jumble of voices, and an omniscient point of view that added to the sense of dislocation. But by the end of the first chapter, Martin’s hook had caught me. It wasn’t the action that drew me in, although the first chapter does contain a dramatic sword fight. It wasn’t the characters, who were not particularly well drawn, nor long lived. It was the prose. The words were magical, delicate, full of mystery and power. They conveyed much more than the literal flow of events.

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Happy St David’s Day!

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There’s been a lot happening lately in the Morris bubble, leaving little or no time for me to blog. I just thought I’d stop by today to wish everyone a Happy St David’s Day. St David is the patron saint of Wales, and the daffodil (pictured above) is the national flower of Wales.

St David lived in the 6th century in Wales and his day is celebrated by wearing daffodils, eating Welsh cakes, and perhaps some leeks, and of course singing the rousing Welsh national anthem. This year Google is celebrating too with one of its doodles:

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As you may or may not know, I am Welsh, but manage to live very happily in the foreign land of England. I have taken steps to assimilate into my new home by always speaking the English language and adopting local customs such as complaining about the weather and drinking tea.

Traditionally the daffodil flowers on 1st March, but in recent years our daffodils have been huddling for warmth until well after their due date. This year however, although we’ve had a frosty and even snowy winter, February has been mild, and so the daffodils in our garden are here on time to share their spring colour with us.

I’ll just finish this post by wishing you all,

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

Birthday status – 49 and counting

Today it’s my birthday. I’m 49. That’s old. Or is it? The mathematician in me refutes the proposition that any finite number is either large or small. Besides, 49 is a nice number – the square of a prime. Pretty cool, huh? That won’t happen again until I turn 64. Continue reading