I have been living in Switzerland for 13 years and if a local asks me “sprechen Sie Deutsch” I’ll proudly say “ein bitzeli” then hope to quickly change the subject.
“ein bitzeli” is Swiss German for a little bit. I think using dialect makes me sound more native. We Expats tend to get taught only text-book Hoch Deutsch (high German). In truth I see no distinction between the two languages, it is all Dutch to me and therefore I learn each word individually.
I talk a mix match of the two and throw in French and English words also. Don’t know how but without much consideration I seem to instinctively choose well known words that can help me get my point across. I’ve even been known to use Italian also.
I’m a very chatty person and I can, in my own animated style say almost anything I want. My trouble is, I only understand about 30% of people’s responses and get a bit embarrassed listening intently and guessing when to nod. Luckily it is very bad manners to interrupt when people are speaking so, if I don’t daydream can sort of follow the thread. When brave I will throw out the occasional “Wirklich?” which means “Really?”
That doesn’t stop me from talking over the garden fence with my neighbours or with other dog-walkers I meet.
I often hijack the conversation because doing all the talking masks my ineptness.
I did take German lessons many years ago, six in all. Unfortunately I found the teaching methods didn’t suit my way of learning. Read and repeat doesn’t work with me.
I need strong picture association, actions or rhymes to make words stick. I was so desperate to find any type of rule or group pattern that would make learning the German language easier. I failed, there were none that I could see. Not much logic either.
All dogs are male “Der” and cats female “Die”, all horses are neutral “Das”. At home I had a Gordon Setter bitch and a black tomcat but no little pony.
So after frustrating myself, the teacher and my classmates with continuous questioning, I quit. Now I simply use “D” for everything.
I speak with a working class accent that drops H’s in words like House and adds them to words like addition. A further hindrance as German speaking is extremely precise.
I find I can often repeat a German phrase with only the slightest error in pronunciation. But can the hearer grasp what I am saying? Well I imagine most of you know the answer to that. I must sound like I have a pair of socks stuck in my gob.
However, because the Swiss are so well educated assistance is usually available. I have found people to be much more forthcoming when you don’t ask “Do you speak English?” but say “sprechen Sie English?” instead.
I remember on my first solo visit to a supermarket I actually bobbed around, clucked and squawked when asking for chicken. Thank goodness the cabbages were easy to locate. I soon noticed that many shelf-stackers in the supermarket, a position usually filled by the less educated like myself, speak very good English too.
My lack of language skills makes me known in the village as the English man. A local girl even knocked my door to ask me if I’d help teach her English. I don’t charge a fee instead I informed the mother if she requires her to reach a certain academic level to hire a professional. We now teach each other.
Instead of brushing up on my language skills, I spend my time writing. I have just published my first book one that outlines the circumstances that brought me from my council house childhood in England to this beautiful country of Switzerland.
Curious people can find more information here. http://powerpuffgeezer.webs.com/
28th October - Guest Post - Page Turner Book Tours - http://pageturnerbooktours.com/
29th October - Guest Post - Stephanie Green - http://stephsgrn.blogspot.co.uk/
30th October - Guest Post - The Writing Network - http://thewritingnetwork.com/
31st October - Guest Post - Mysti Parker - http://mystiparker.blogspot.co.uk/
1st November - Spotlight - Stephanie Green - http://stephsgrn.wordpress.com/
4th November - Guest Post - J S Council - http://jscouncil.com/site/the-council-blog/
5th November - Interview - Emily Wells - http://sharinglinksandwisdom.blogspot.co.uk/
6th November - Spotlight - Lizzy Ford - http://www.guerrillawordfare.com/blog/
7th November - Spotlight - The Writer's Life - http://thewriterslife.blogspot.co.uk/
8th November - Spotlight - M.J. KANE - http://authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com/
11th November - Guest Post - Rebecca Ryals Russell - http://www.spellbindingsblog.com/
12th November - Spotlight - Dottie Taylor - http://myblog2point0.blogspot.co.uk/
13th November - Guest Post - Catrina Taylor - http://iwassociation.com/
14th November - Review - Read 2 Review - http://read2review.com/
15th November - Guest Post - Michelle Miller - http://castlemacabre.blogspot.co.uk/
Paulyanna: International Rent-boy (memoirs) Available Here!
Apple iBooks eBook-
CREATESPACE Paper Book-
AMAZON eBook & Paper Book-
Barnes & Noble eBook-
LULU Paper book-
Sony Reader eBook-
Versent Books eBook-
I want book reviewers
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part One.
I am not good at reading websites nor dealing with form filling and bureaucracy.
First attempt uploading my book on to CreateSpace and everything went through quickly.
The guy was so helpful, he wrote.
“….Our reviewers did find some non-blocking issues with your files. Some of these issues may have been fixed causing alterations to your files…”
So in this ORIGINAL copy of their email. They ADMIT for want of a better word, I had some UNIMPORTANT issues that they fixed.
Still I thought this guy was lovely. Helpful. Beyond helpful read on.
“…The author name has been updated to match the files… The spine content was too large for the page count so we reduced the size and centered it, ensuring that there is at least 0.0625″ of room on either side to prevent the content from wrapping onto the front or back cover when printed…”
That is what I call customer service… please continue.
“…We recommend you review a physical proof of your book to ensure you are satisfied with the adjustments made. The cover contains transparency which is flattened during our processing and may result in a slight change in appearance.
That is what I call customer sales…
The CreateSpace Team…”
Team??? I don’t particularly like to think of a team dealing with me. Here is where I believe lay my future problem.
STILL, How happy was I?
I blogged it in part two.
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part Two
Today the 17th of October is the day I received a hard copy of my book.
Printed in Charleston, SC. USA on October 15th and in my Swiss postbox this morning. WOW!
I got two actually. One for wafting and the other as your parents most probably once said, for best.
It is a rare position for me to be in at the moment so please understand and indulge my gloat.
I have NEVER achieved anything in my entire life. Although in a manner of speaking surviving my past is in itself an achievement.
A fanciful childhood notion that I could one day become a writer, good, bad or ugly has come true. I’m wafting as we speak, one moment whilst I waft some more.
By the way, MY new book smell smells like window-putty, not at all what I expected.
As I have not pitched it to anyone I have yet to receive a knock-back so my dreams of glory are alive and intact. No idea when my bubble will burst but until it does I’m going to continue to imagine greatness and relish the view from this lofty pedestal.
I’m not even asking family and friends to buy it. Strangers yes.
I’ve been promoting it like a fool for over a year now not sure of the benefits however every blog tells me I should have started plugging my novel at least two years prior to it’s launch. And has it helped???
So after eagerly approving my cover which was crafted and designed by me “on the cheap” £16.67 or $27.50 for the iDraw app and a wee bit of time. My paper book was accepted.
Then I noticed the text wasn’t justified squarely but jagged.
For me this was fine but first impressions matter a great deal.
Right from day one I have been consciously attempting to knock down preconceptions… Self-published eBooks have a bit of a bad rep too.
Add to that my dodgy subject matter and I literally feel crap penny novelist clawing at my heels attempting to clamber over me.
Do I allow them to push me back into a quagmire of eBook dirge? No I most certainly do not.
Lucky for me uphill battles are my forte.
So here I am a brazen uneducated working-class whore trying to convince book buyers I have the eloquence and whit of Oscar Wilde when I barely have the intelligence to recognize my own stupidity.
Now there will be a small delay whilst the presses re-ink the blocks in a nice orderly fashion. Desperate for my book to fit … The irony grates…
A subversive rebel who said fuck the world goes cap in hand looking for acceptance… no customers…even worse.
t’s late, I’m “impaired” and losing the thread of this blog…
Yeah, so this rash error of mine created two “one-offs”
****Special PROPER Limited Editions***
The first two printed copies of PAULYANNA: International Rent-boy.
There was no print edition numbers to mark it as a first edition, which is a shame. But hey these have a printed date stamp which works for me.
I craftily wrapped the first one back in the original packaging for when I’m a washed up old has-been, assuming I have a roaring success on my hands.
Then after languishing from the profits in a drug addled stupor for a few years. Wasting everything, I’ll flog it on UBS Bay or whatever it’s called by then.
So here they are my proof copies, my wafting copy is getting rather bendy.
-I expect it out on Amazon one week after THEY clear it for a 2nd time. Which should be tonight.
(Unlike my excellent novel this has not been professionally edited, so please excuse any typo’s)
Look it’s even here.
BUT……………. Then it gets more complicated in part three….
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part Three.
After uploading new JUSTIFIED SQUARELY text file I first got.
Congratulations Paul Douglas! (sounds so cute being called Paul Douglas)
Your interior file for Paulyanna: International Rent-boy (Title ID: 0000000) has gone through our automated checks and there were no major issues found.
24hrs later after waiting I email back the useful nice man… well I use the email I got and resent.
ME: “Don’t mean to appear impatient but 24 hours passed 3 hours ago. The only change made was the text formatting needed squaring off so it looked like a block of text instead of jagged edged letter.
If you can assist me in hurrying it along I would be most grateful.
Many thanks. Kind regards, Paul Douglas Lovell…”
Thought I’d keep it informal cause I don’t really do formal
Your e-mail reply was sent to a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Your questions are important
to us, so visit the following link to connect with our Member Support team via e-mail or phone..”
So I resend using the direct e-mail.
BIG BAD ROBOT MAN WRITES BACK
“…The interior and cover files for Paulyanna: Internation…, #00000000 have been reviewed.
The cover file does not meet our submission requirements for the reason(s) listed below.
Please make any necessary adjustments to your cover file and upload
it again by logging in to createspace.com.
The author name for this book was listed as P D Lovell but the cover indicates the author name is Paul Douglas Lovell. The author name displayed on the cover must match the author name entered during title setup…”
I took ages designing my cover. I did seven versions… I blogged a POLL… I announced and did a cover reveal interview…
“…The interior file does not meet our submission requirements for the reason(s) listed below. Please make any necessary adjustments to your interior file and upload it again by logging in to createspace.com.
The author name for this book was listed as P D Lovell but the interior indicates that the author name is Paul Douglas Lovell. The author name displayed in the interior must match the author name entered during title setup…”
ROBOT IS SO RUDE. SO DEMANDING. SO ARROGANT.
BIG CORPORATE BULLY.
The CreateSpace Team
So I am expected to edit my cover and inner content down to PD Lovell sounds like PeeWee. No I like using my given name.
I write a short polite plea on the automated response given on the email asks did this help with your enquiry. I never rant I know that much.
Instead I write to my blog friends as seen in part four.
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part Four
Why is the world full of idiots?
And why do you never get a name attached from big companies dealing with claims, accounts or complaints. (I haven’t complained)
Not even sure how to nowadays. They have to be delivered delicately without accusing tones and I think WITH permission.
As I WANT something from these FUCKIN’ MORONS I deliver only enquiries.
My book cover was accepted by the staff member using the allocated brain-cell, who actually and very kindly made amendments on my behalf, off their own back (wow I know, probably got fired).
Unfortunately an unrelated problem to do with text formatting not being aligned meant I had to submit my file again.
Now my cover is a problem. Grrrr. I entered P D Lovell on my form. BUT inside and on the cover I use Paul Douglas Lovell.
As I do on EVERY other email, form, application THEY have from me. Delays delays… I hate waiting.
I’m not used to such unprofessionalism.
Remember when we could talk to humans and if need be shout at them.
The glory days of customer complaining gone.
Last time I spoke to a human, my irate voice was called bullying and the phone was slammed down, by them.
I have a horrible feeling this PROBLEM is gonna stress me.
CreateSpace desperate to penalise anyone not using their cover making facilities at $300 by demanding seriously complicated specifications that they COULD so easily assist with. The massive chunk they make from me isn’t enough.
Massive chunk may be a slight exaggeration. Moan over… I actually feel better now so thanks for reading my rant.
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part Five
I get an email from CreateSpace. A real person… Finally some help…
“…Thank you for contacting us about the issue with the cover file of your book entitled, “Paulyanna: International Rent-boy.”
I will be glad to assist you today.
I understand your frustration,
but due to STRICT regulations, this issue must be corrected.
The author name entered in your title information does not match the author name appearing on your front cover and interior title page. Please make sure the author name matches exactly in both places, and upload revised files.
Then, please navigate to the “Review Setup” page and “Submit for Publishing.”
We will review your files and contact you within 24 hours.
I SINCERELY apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you.
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or concerns you may have.
Thank you for your patience.
CreateSpace Member Services..”
My response to this is short explaining the initial set-up form is LOCKED to me. AND also that I would really like to keep my full name… I mention it was accepted once before … Again I DON’T rant… asking if HE could perhaps HELP me…
As all I can do is go back to my corner and whinge. I vapourise and blog…
I had my book accepted – I printed copies – I have them here – proof copies – I didn’t like the formatting of TEXT – not squared like a real book.
I had the amended file uploaded -
Now it’s all gone tits up…
I entered P D Lovell in the initial set up form.
BUT…My book says PAUL DOUGAS LOVELL -
Now it’s suddenly become Company Policy not to accept it.
I am still looking at the two copies in my hand – It took a mere two days to upload, accept, print and deliver to Switzerland – I praised Create Space – I blogged it – Now I look like a dick -
I WILL NOT abbreviate my name… it means a great deal to me…
Dougy Lovell was my dad – He’s dead now It is his birthday today.
How arrogant “I am here to assist you….I understand your frustration….unfortunately…if you have any other problems…happy to help…”
I want to email the boss – The REAL one – Not anyone with a “Head of” prefix.
If I write my next complaint email on the same weekday… Perhaps I’ll get the helpful one.
Are Create Space book people? I thought literary folk were intelligent.
I write because I really want to scream…
Road To Publishing. My CreateSpace Saga Part six.
Whilst lying in bed WIDE awake with frustration of the none sexual nature.
I decided CreateSpace who are obviously at fault and incompetent sold me “inferior” quality goods under false pretenses.
If my book should not/could not be accepted, the two copies I bought are obviously wrong in some way.
I want a full refund of the $27 it cost for the printed copies to be shipped via UPS on the quick delivery service….
If they want their copies back they are welcome to send someone around to collect them, I will put them out on the doorstep just to be helpful.
Also the $25 dollars I paid for Expanded distribution of a title that shouldn’t have been accepted.
I do not accept vouchers.
Probably my next beef as I still believe I am in the right.
CreateSpace are using their corporate strength and industry contacts to BULLY me into something I don’t want to do. Bully is a good word or have I already missed the boat on shouting bully at everything… Probably, I’m not the quickest.
DO THEY MAKE IT PURPOSELY DIFFICULT for Indie Writers???