Saturday, March 14, 2009

Scottish Pronunciation

The main clan-name of the werewolves in Lonely Werewolf Girl is MacRinnalch. I recently tried to explain, via email, how to pronounce MacRinnalch. That was difficult.

The main stress would be on Rinn, like mac-RINN-alch, but the ch at the end is difficult to describe. This isn't pronounced like ch at the end of much, or hatch. It's meant to be the same sound as the ch in loch. That's a Scottish sound, not really used in England. Many people would pronounce loch as lok - Lok Lomond, Lok Ness. (I'm not complaining. My own Scottish accent mangles plenty of words. I'm completely indecipherable at times.)

I can't even think of any other common word to give as an example. I look on the internet for pronunciation help. For loch, Wikitionary says: International Phonetic alphabet - lɒx

That doesn't seem to be much help. Who could understand that?

I search further, and find a message board, giving language help to non-English speakers. On the topic of loch, it says, among a lot of other things -

'Ch in loch is an unvoiced uvular fricative, pronounced near the back of the throat.'

and later -

'It's a voiceless velar fricative. If the student knows the English lock, start with that as a basis; the closure between tongue and hard palate (velum) is right. But don't release the air in a single burst; rather, release the air in a continuous stream - through a 'leaky' closure.'

Things are getting worse. At this point I give up, and resolve never to think about it again. Stupid Scottish pronunciation. I'm starting to hate the entire country. Just ending the word with a k would be fine, as in MacRinnalk.

Hmm. It now strikes me that the ch sounds quite like the sound at the end of the composer Bach. Not exactly the same, but close. (Unless Bach is pronounced differently elsewhere from the way I'd say it.)

I'm planning to spend the day watching football and later, eating apple crumble. In a great socio-economic-nutritional shift, I have moved over to this, after slightly tiring of rhubarb. It's a big lifestyle change. Who knows what unforeseen consequences it may bring?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Queen Vex

Piatkus, which is an imprint of Little Brown, will publish the sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl, provisionally entitled Queen Vex, in Britain in March 2010. Prior to that, they'll be putting out a new edition of Lonely Werewolf Girl in October this year. The contract isn't quite finalised yet, but I'm expecting this to happen, and indeed Piatkus have announced it at

So I am now contractually obliged to deliver the sequel. Actually, I'm contractually obliged to deliver it already, as Fischer, the German publisher, also included it in the contract when they bought the first book. So I should probably spend more time writing it, and less time playing SpongeBob video games. Though I'm very fond of SpongeBob video games.

I don't have a contract for Queen Vex in either America or Italy yet, but Lonely Werewolf Girl has done well in both countries so I'm confident it should be published there too, around the same time.

Here is Ragazze Lupo, in Italy, alongside Anne Rice and Edgar Allen Poe. Picture taken by my friend Gail, who I went to school with, and now lives in Bologna.

Why am I interested in pictures of my books on foreign bookshelves you may wonder? Probably because I'm still troubled by agoraphobia, and don't travel. Not much progress with that, really.