How Do You Pronounce That Word?

IMG_0171I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and some say I have a Michigander accent. You can be assured, that I don’t have a British accent, but I have fond memories of my grandmother’s voice calling me “love” and talking about a “cuppa tea.” Naturally, like other Americans, I often have trouble pronouncing British locations – especially those shires.

Out of curiosity and because of my foreign tongue, I posted in a group on Facebook where other members live or used to live in Salford and/or Broughton.  You’ll discover Broughton is used multiple times in Toil Under the Sun.  I’ve been pronouncing it a certain way but wondered if I had it right.

So, thinking it was a simple question, I posted on the Facebook group board the following. “I have a question from across the pond. Is Broughton pronounced Bro-ton or Brow-ton. My phonetic attempt. LOL”  OMG – I started a firestorm and at last count forty-seven replies and lots of variations all from people in the United Kingdom.  Frankly, after the first twenty responses, I couldn’t stop laughing.  Conclusion — never ask an Englishman how to pronounce a location.

When you read the book, you are more than welcome to pronounce Broughton in any of these following phonetic ways.  Apparently, they are all right, depending on who you ask.

  • Brought-n
  • Braw as in raw, ton
  • Brorton
  • Brawtun
  • Bro-ton
  • Brawton
  • Braw’un
  • Braw’n
  • Brought-on

Well, I think you get the gist.  I’ve been stuck on Brow-ton myself, but I probably should shift to Braw-ton.



Locations in Toil Under the Sun

It’s all about location.  In the first book, I have married my characters (William and Mary) at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Prestwich, UK.  This church is of great importance to me because my second great uncle was married there and is buried in the graveyard, along with his daughter Annie and his wife, Caroline.

Below are pictures that I took on one of my visits to the location. The church is stunning. It was founded in 1200 and parts of the building date back to 1500. The graveyard is fascinating and beautiful, and I wish I could go back again to visit.

In the meantime, I hope these photographs will help the imagination of readers as they picture the Leighton characters at this location (click to enlarge).  As a sideline tidbit, I just discovered that Coronation Street, which is a British soap opera series on ITV, films at this location for church scenes.

I also have scenes at St. George’s in Manchester. My third great grandfather is supposedly buried there, but the church closed in 1984 and was converted into apartments in 2000.  To read the history on Wikipedia CLICK HERE.  For more fascinating information and modern pictures visit Manchester History CLICK HERE. Below is an old print of St. George’s Church from 1831.

St. George


Pre-Order Ready!

Book One_edited-1Available now on Amazon for pre-order!

November 1, 2018 release

Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke from the factories. While men, women, and children spun cotton in the mills, bricklayers built the workhouses, warehouses, and terraced residences of the city. They were skilled in their craft but also experts in enforcing the rules of their union demands, hoping to escape the bondage of serfdom to gain a better life.

Born into obscurity and a descendant of men who slung mortar from their trowels as a trade, William Leighton, swore that one day he would rise above his poverty-ridden class. The means in which he chose to climb out the slums differed from his brother, who believed that violence was the only way to bring about change and close the gap between laborers and masters.

The clash of siblings in Toil Under the Sun creates the foundation of family and is the first book in a saga that spans three generations.


writing-is-still-like-heaving-bricks-over-a-wall-quote-1The book is currently in the final stages and in the hands of Victory Editing.  I will probably have it back by mid-September or later, and October will be spent finalizing the eBook and print versions.  I’m going to launch on November 1, 2018, and will have it up for pre-sale from all vendors in early October.

In the meantime, I’m redesigning the covers after finding one that I liked much better, which I will share with you eventually. I’ve been too busy to start book two but plan to do so very soon.

As far as a dedication for book one, I’m memorializing my third-great-grandmother, Phoebe Holland, who committed suicide in 1862 by hanging.  The newspaper stated the coroner’s report came back as, “hanging whilst in a state of unsound mind.”  The situation has caused much conjecture on my part and a few of our relatives as to why she took her own life.

All my best,



Editing Updates on “Toil Under the Sun” – I’m Toiling

writing2 I discovered this quote while surfing the Internet about the pain of editing. Recently, I’ve experienced an increase in headaches and this could explain why!

In all seriousness, I’ve been doing my due diligence on the text and story and feel semi-satisfied that I may be getting close to sending it to Victory Editing.  I’ve run the program through ProWriting Aid, which is by far the best on the market.  It has this wonderful MS Word add-on that integrates and creates a menu (part of which can be seen below). You click on what you want to be analyzed and viola! You swear you’re the worst writer in the world when the results are returned in the text.

Presently, the book consists of twenty-six chapters and 56,003 words, but that could change before release.  When I am done fiddling with it, I’ll send it off to my regular editor and it should be back within three weeks.  I’m going to shoot for October 1 as the release date but it’s subject to change.  When I get closer, I will go up for pre-order.

In the meantime, I’m writing down plot points for book two and hope to start soon.

I’ll admit that I had toyed with the idea of sending my manuscript to a U.K. publisher to see if I could get the four-book saga picked up since it’s so heavily based on Manchester history.  After researching quite a few publishing houses that take direct submissions, reviewing the timelines to hear back on “yes” or “no” and the horrible payout of 10% royalties, I quickly threw that idea into the circular can.

As an independent publisher, I will admit I have always wanted the validation of being picked up by a traditional publishing house. However, when you consider it takes three to six months to get an answer (and usually if you don’t hear back by three to six months you can assume a rejection), and then having to wait another year or more to see the book published, it sours my quest.  I’ll let my readers validate me instead as you have so kindly done in the past. My patience to travel the road to traditional publishing is non-existent at my age.

All my best,


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