Escape with Joan: Letter #6 from London

Escape with Joan: Letter #6 from London

I’ve spent the past week working on the copy-edited manuscript for Texas Bride, which is scheduled to be in stores in March 2012. Since I’m in London, my editor asked if I’d be willing to do the copy-edit online. I agreed to give it a try. I’m not exactly computer illiterate but I am computer challenged. I printed a copy of the manuscript with all the notes so I could look at it first on paper and was surprised and pleased that I was able to insert my comments online without too much trouble. However, as with every copy-edit, I discovered just how many words I can’t spell.

See how you do with the following. Answers are at the end of the letter:

light headed/lightheaded
grownups/grown-ups
piecrust/pie crust
cut-out/cutout
race horse/racehorse
heart-sore/heartsore
stocking feet/stockinged feet
foul-tempered/foul tempered
side-stepping/sidestepping
stand-off/standoff
dish towel/dishtowel
mucus/mucous
sharp-voiced/sharp voiced
tail gate/tailgate
town house/townhouse
half hour/half-hour
will power/willpower
turnoff/turn-off
window panes/windowpanes
brand-new/brand new
soul shattering/soul-shattering
Achilles’ heel/Achilles heel

While we’re on the subject of words, thought I’d let you know that if you’re in London ordering food (which I often am), you should know the difference when the waitress asks you, “Fries or chips?” What she means is, do you want skinny little American French fries, like you’d get at McDonald’s or Burger King, or would you like to have big fat British chips (thick French fries)? Also, “Wicked!” is another way of saying “Brilliant” which is another way of saying “Cool! or Neat! or Wow!”

And while we’re on the subject of food (which I often am), I’ve found a new cookie I like in the UK. Okay, it’s really just one of those biscuit-with-a-marshmallow-on-top-all-covered-with-chocolate cookie, but the marshmallow on the ones I like is to die for. The marshmallow is so soft it squishes, and they cookies are each wrapped individually in tin paper. I don’t have the name of them, because I threw all the papers away, but when I find them again in a store (I found them first at the Barbican Center where I saw South Pacific) , I’ll let you know.

Still speaking of food (which I’m always happy to do), I thought I’d mention some foods I found on the refrigerator door here where I’m staying and see if they’re ever part of your menu: Le Medaillon de Foie de Canard (duck liver, I think); La Terrine Forestiere Aux Morilles (mushrooms, maybe?), anchovy puree, lemon grass in sunflower oil, Morceaux de Truffles, Patum Peperium: the poacher’s relish (smoked salmon relish with lemon zest), Harrod’s brandy butter and fresh garden mint, along with, of course, an assortment of Indian and Thai curries. I’m not even sure what most of these items taste like, let alone how to cook with them! I’ve been subsisting on lamb burgers I make at home (I’ve added some of my hostess’s lamb seasoning and some tomato & red pepper relish I found in the stores here that I’ve seen used on my lamb burgers in restauarants), and Indian and pasta TV dinners (lamb rogan josh and chicken korma) from Morrisson’s grocery store, and when I want to picnic in Hyde Park, egg salad sandwiches and potato chips and cupcakes from Little Waitrose (a smaller grocery store).

I’ve seen a couple more plays since I last wrote. Journey’s End is a WWI drama without the puppet horses that were so effective in War Horse. The lead spent too much time shouting to relate the man’s agony from being on the front line of battle for too long. I think a different actor would have found another way to convey that more effectively. Still, the production was very much worth seeing and the setting–an underground bunker lit only by candles, was very effective and effecting. South Pacific at the Barbican was disappointing. It supposedly has actors in in from the Lincoln Center Production. The baritone and tenor had wonderful voices, but the staging was static–no one interacted with anyone else or with any props or scenery onstage during musical numbers–simply stood where they were or wandered back and forth across the stage alone. The staging looked very much like what you might see in a high school production.

I’ve also seen the movie Cowboys & Aliens, which I enjoyed. I hope others enjoy it and that it sparks a resurgence in Westerns–since that’s what I’m writing right now! Am working on Wyoming Bride, which is the next book in this series. Great story. I just need to get it down on paper.

We are still having lots of rain and cool weather (I’ve been wearing a sweater–outside–all summer). Hope it’s cooling down a bit wherever you are.

P.S. Here are your answers per Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary: light-headed, foul tempered (not my heroine), sidestepping, grown-ups, standoff, willpower, piecrust, dishtowel (Who knew?), turnoff, cutout (as in, “his chaps had a cutout so he could make use of the buttons in his fly…), sharp voiced, windowpanes, racehorse, tailgate, brand-new, heartsore (my hero’s a widower), town house, soul shattering, stocking feet (I had this one right), half-hour (Yeah, I know, isn’t that weird?), Achilles’ heel, mucus (not a word I’ve used much in 51 romance novels…). jj