Monday, February 17, 2014

Topic Tuesday - Differences in Locale

This week’s Topic Tuesday is about experiencing the differences in localities that have been visited. The questions are, have you ever traveled somewhere and been struck by the differences between there and where you live or lived? What were they? Good? Bad? Why did they leave an impression on you?
This is an interesting topic, more so because of comments from both my son, and my sister.
We grew up in a small town in Mid-Missouri. Columbia is dubbed “College Town USA” because of the number of colleges located there. There are 21 colleges near or in Columbia, including the University of Missouri.
So, based on that, you would think that Columbia is full of college aged individuals, distracted with parties and their academics, and not particularly friendly, right? Wrong.
At a young age, my sister and I moved out of Missouri, first to Colorado for a short time, then to Arizona, and my sister moved on to California. We learned to be independent. We grew up. We experienced a culture that was vastly different, both in the general temperament and the way human beings treated each other.
People, as a mass, are not friendly in Arizona or California. They are rushed, rude and disagreeable. I would have chalked this up to me living in the Phoenix area, therefore a very large city versus a small town, but my sister experienced much the same in the smaller city she lived in north of Los Angeles.
Over time, we got used to the way people were and acclimated to the lack of basic politeness and compassion. It became the norm. I raised my son in an atmosphere of worry over gangs, drugs and disrespect. Not a good place to raise children.
Then—we moved back to our home town.
We were nearly in culture shock at the difference. People here are friendly, accommodating and kind. They offer help and greetings without thought of anything in return. They are happier, and more relaxed here.
My sister called once to tell me of a cashier at a store where she and her husband were gathering the tools and materials to strip their wall-paper from the walls of their house. The cashier gave them tips without being asked. My sister joked about having the woman come over and help. Much to my sister’s surprise, the woman was amiable, told them to call her anytime with any questions and was more than willing to come by their house and help, without any thought of compensation. My sister’s comment? “This would never happen in Arizona or California!”
I cannot count the number of times my son has commented on how “nice people are in Missouri.” He’s used to the big city. To course and impolite. To abrasive and unconcerned. For people to be nice, to have compassion and to care is something very new to him, and something I had forgotten from my past.
I am glad I moved back—came home. I much prefer my son here, in an atmosphere of humanity where he can learn that it’s right to be kind and considerate and to care about your fellow human being. And I can rest assured that my son will learn this valuable lesson where he would not have in the Southwest.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All about Names

Hi everyone, thanks for letting me take over this blog today to talk about my new book.

Now, I suspect your first thought when seeing the title of this blog post is that I’m talking about the title of my book or one of the main characters.  Well, you would be wrong.  In fact I’m talking about the name of a little creature I included in my story during one of the rounds of edits and rather late in the day.

As always when I’m editing a story I like to take on board the advice of my editors and work with them as best I can.  During the editing process for My Boyfriend’s an Alien my editor, the lovely Sue, suggested that more description of Zak’s home world might be a good idea.  I decided to run with her suggestion and added in extra details as she suggested.

Whilst adding to the story I decided to include a new type of animal that is native to the alien planet.  I wanted it to be a bit of cuteness and naturally the creature needed a name.  In my infinite wisdom – she says sarcastically – I named this animal a snuppet.  What was I thinking?  Word, the ever unhelpful program that it is decided I was misspelling snippet and each time I typed the name of the animal it ‘corrected’ it for me. 

I won’t tell you all how long it took me to notice it was doing this, but let’s just say I didn’t notice until after the whole section had been put into the story and therefore had to go and alter them all over again.

So, my writing tip for the day is to make sure you don’t do what I do and pull a random made up word out of nowhere without considering how Word will react to your typing it.

My Boyfriend’s an Alien by L.M. Brown


Zak, an alien from the planet Trimmeron, is a member of a race of beings who transform into other species during their years of puberty. It’s customary for the youngsters to be fostered to the worlds native to their new forms, to study and learn about the races who will play an important part in their lives.

When Zak turns into a human, it comes as a surprise to everyone, for only one other before him has ever done so. Nevertheless he is sent to Earth, a world he views as primitive and barbaric. He arrives with a chip on his shoulder and attitude to spare. He does not believe that anyone on Earth could have anything to teach him.

When Zak meets college student Sam he soon discovers he has a lot to learn, not only about humans, but also about himself.

Trapped on an unfamiliar world and in a strange body that seems to have a mind of its own, Zak has no idea what is happening to himonly that Sam seems to be the key to the strange afflictions he is suffering from. 

But can an alien find love with a human being?


The gardens were well tended and even the flowers were in orderly lines. Insects more than twice as large as those on Earth hovered over the plants. Other animals looked at them curiously as they approached. One rather friendly creature bounded up to Sam’s mother on six legs and ran around her at a speed to rival a spaceship.
“Is it friendly?” Mrs Palmer asked as she hesitated to pet it.
Zak looked back over his shoulder. “Sure, he’s just looking to see if you have any treats. They’re kind of like our version of dogs.” He reached into one of the gardens and broke something off of one of the plants.
“Isn’t that stealing?” Sam asked.
“No, the crops in the front gardens are for anyone to help themselves. The ones in the back are for the residents alone.”
“That’s very generous.”
“It’s easy to be so when we have more than enough for everyone.” He crouched down and held out the yellow berries to the animal. Sensing the food, the animal came to him immediately and slowed down enough for Sam and his mother to see it properly. With long fur all over its body, it bore more resemblance to a mop than a dog. Sitting on its back two legs, it used the front two to take the berries from Zak and the middle two to beg for more.
Sam picked a couple of berries for himself and his mother to feed to the animal, but before they could give them to it, a second one arrived to beg too.
“That’s the only problem with snuppets,” Zak said. “They’re greedy as hell and can sense a soft touch a mile away.”
“They’re so cute. Where are their owners?”
“They don’t have them. They hate being indoors so generally run wild. We’d better give them the berries and get moving or we’ll end up here all day.”
Sam passed a couple of berries to his mother and they fed and petted the snuppets. The animals followed after them for several minutes, clearly hoping for more treats, until they realised there was nothing else on offer and scurried off to beg from the next passer-by.

Available from Totally Bound


L.M. Brown lives in England, in a quaint little village that time doesn't seem to have touched. No, wait a minute—that's the retirement biography. Right now she is in England in a medium sized town that no one has ever heard of, so she won't bore you with the details. Keeping her company are numerous sexy men. She just wishes that they weren't all inside her head.

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Where to find L.M. Brown
Twitter - @LMBrownAuthor