Let's welcome Nancy Wood to the Writing Room and see how she names her characters!
What’s in a name?
When I first started writing DUE DATE, the name of my protagonist, Shelby McDougall, just popped into my head. But before I committed, I let it sit for a while, as I believe that the name of a character does matter. If the name is out of place, too quirky, or doesn’t match with the times or the character, your reader might get stuck. This naming issue is a subtle one, but I believe with a little bit of research, thought, and creativity, any writer can discover the perfect name.
Let’s consider the first name first: A baby name search of the year your character was born can turn up hundreds, if not thousands, of names, ranked by popularity. Check out the Social Security Administration website (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/) where you can search by year (going back to 1879) and by ranking. The results can be returned as a flat list or by popularity, and can include either the percent of newborns given that name or the total number or newborns given that name. You can also search by state and year, by U.S. territories and year, and by decade. A few lists are devoted to popular names for twins (girls, boys, and girl-boy sets). If you have the inclination, it’s a fun site to visit. A quick internet search returned dozens of additional sites that are not limited to names of U.S. newborns.
Last names are equally as critical. A character’s last name can indicate his or her roots. In some cases, the name can also subtly influence the character’s profession (think of the oddities, like Heal for a doctor, Pool for a swimmer, or Cook for a chef).An internet search also turns up plenty of sites with lists of surnames. You can find sites with common last names by decade and state, by country, or by continent. A search through the phone book (yes there still are phone books, though this of course, is probably going to soon be as extinct as the telephone operator) yields tens of thousands of last names.
I have a few cardinal rules for names: For characters I want my readers to like, the first name paired with the last name has to be a bit melodic. I love names that start with “S,” as the sound is smooth and full and rolls off the tongue. For villains who are obviously the “bad guys,” I look for harsh sounds that will crash into a reader’s consciousness. I’m not a big fan of single-syllable names, as they don’t seem to have enough depth. And I steer clear, as much as possible, of using names of people I know. There’s the obvious, that the person might not want their name to be used for a character in a book. But also, I might be writing to that person, using that person’s traits for my character (which is not always all bad, but it can backfire).
As a reader, have you ever read a book where a name didn’t match the character? For writers, what do you look for when you name your characters? Leave a comment; I’d love to get a conversation going!
Today I'd like to welcome Joyce Kellerman Walsh to the writing room. We all know what writer's block feels like, but what happens when the flow of ideas just won't stop? Pull up a chair by the fire and let's see what Joyce has to share with us about that very subject.
With my fifth book finally in print and awaiting proofs of my sixth, the writing project I’ve put off for two years finally advanced to first in queue. It will require a consuming devotion to my subject for months and months and I have been relishing the prospect of an indulgent summer of reading and research….
Ha! Too easy.
Suddenly, I am beset with new ideas, each one clamoring for attention. It’s as though they know there’s a void and the competition to fill it has gone wild. A new book is tugging at my sleeve, a new screenplay is lying across my path, and two short stories are circling my head like mosquitoes. And each one seems equally compelling.
In my vocabulary, writer’s block is when you have no ideas. Writer’s blitz is when you have too many. A blitz of ideas can be overwhelming and, sometimes, destructive.
In conducting workshops and panel discussions for writers, I often hear the complaint that they have so many projects going that they haven’t been able to finish any of them. They’re at a stalemate that can linger for a long time and actually defeat the effort to make progress.
So how do you concentrate on a single writing project? Not to mention fitting in family, work, laundry, cleaning, and—yes, please—fun.
Well, life is a balancing act and writing is no different.
For most of us, it helps to establish priorities in life and in writing. Whatever is most important comes first. You have to choose. And then you have to allot prime time to it.
One way that may be helpful to you in to focusing energy into a single project and still satisfy the demands of insistent ideas is to give each one its due. For example, I will spend my summer months working on my next project—but I will also, as thoughts come to me, keep separate documents for each of those other ideas and add notes to them. I’ll keep a pocket pad to jot down thoughts, descriptions, dialogue, and actions while in the car (when not driving, of course) or watching t.v. (that’s easy), in the supermarket, inconspicuously. A few minutes here and a few minutes there, and over the course of a month, I may begin to see the shadow of the book or whatever it may be. Over the course of several months, I’ve positioned myself so that when it’s the next idea’s turn, I’m ready to roll. And still I haven’t interrupted my forward motion in the project at hand.
Of course, as with anything else we plan, “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley.” Distractions large and small may intervene. Will likely intervene. The critical thing is to keep returning to your priority like a dog to a bone (my dog, actually). As Plymmie would say if she could, “Persistence is everything. Woof.”
Thank you so much Joyce! I loved having you in the Writing Room. For those of you who want to check out Joyce's books here's a list. Also be sure to visit her website at www.joycewalsh.com
And Coming Soon from Whiskey Creek Press
I'd like to welcome Author Lizzy Stevens to the Writing Room. She has some great tips on marketing your book for free. And check out her great new book Blackbeard's Treasure. Read on my friends...
How to promote your book for FREE
Thanks for having me today. Today I'm going to blog about all the free stuff you can do to promote your books. I hope that at least one of these ideas helps somebody out.
1. Set up a website. You can do this completely free at www.webs.com or www.weebly.com and if you want it to be a true dot com you can go to www.godaddy.com or www.names.com and I'm sure there are others and pay for your domain name for the year. It will cost less than $12 and then you can go back to the free site and use your own domain. You have no fees at all and you have a new website.
Set up a facebook page and friend everyone and tell everyone about your page. Use your page to promote your book. Don't just open the page but actually go there and post on it daily.
Follow people and ask them to follow you. Tweet and retweet other people's tweets. Join in on the fun.
Same thing here. Friend people and ask them to friend you.
5. www.manicreaders.com has free pages
6. www.linkedin.com another social networking site.
7. Start a blog. There are a few different free ones. You can try www.blogspot.com or www.wordpress.com either one are free.
8. Join yahoo groups. Be sure to follow their posting rules.
9. www.goodreads.com is another really good place to promote you book.
10. Get reviews for your book. The more reviews and good ratings the better. You can take that review and then tell all the above places. Out of every good review you get several promo opps out of it.
This list should get you started but the ideas are endless in marketing. I hope at least one of these things helped somebody out.
My new book is:
Edward Teach, better known as the pirate Blackbeard, was killed November 22, 1718. Two months before, he purposely ran his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, aground at what is now called Beaufort Inlet.
He emptied the ship of all treasures into his other ship, The Tender, and fled to where nobody knows. Two months later, when he reappeared, he was killed in battle, and his body was tossed into the ocean. To this day, nobody knows where the treasure went.
For years, people have searched high and low for his treasure. It has been said that Blackbeard said nobody but he and the devil knew where it was located.
Cassie Andrews returns to Branson Missouri to clean out her grandfather’s house, who recently passed away. While emptying the attic she comes across an old diary belonging to a woman who claims to have been married to Edward Teach. Cassie soon realizes that she holds the key to the famous Blackbeard’s Treasure.
Cassie turns to her friend Levi for help in finding the treasure. "In her zeal to uncover the clues to Blackbeard's Treasure Cassie lands herself in the hospital.
Attraction explodes off the page as Levi nurses Cassie back to health and together they experience the adventure of a lifetime to uncover their true feelings for one another and Blackbeard's Treasure.
I want to welcome author Frank Allan Rogers to the Writing Room Today as our Featured Author. Frank is a good friend and an even better writer. I've read Frank's work and love his characters and the western feel of his books. Please read more about Frank below.
Writing, reading, and traveling are top priorities for Frank Allan Rogers. "I love to lose myself in a good story," he says, "especially if I'm the one writing it." This author's stories sparkle with true-to-life characters whose dramatic lives leave a lasting impression on his readers.
Frank's passion for writing is not to be known as a great writer, but as a great storyteller. His motto for life comes from a Waylon Jennings song: "I've always been crazy; it's kept me from going insane," though he knows his wife might argue that point. He lives in Villa Rica, Georgia with his wife, Mary Rogers, a multiple award-winning oil artist.
Check out Frank's thoughts on Organizing Book Signings
Visit Frank's Website
Buy Frank's book today! Ebook and Paperback Available.
I'd like to welcome Author A.D. Stewart to the Featured Authors page. A.D. has some very interesting novels about to be released plus a special story that she is donating all proceeds to a friend in need. I bought The Mask and really enjoyed it.
Creating stories has always been a way for me to relax and have fun. I grew up in the south where everyone literally lived miles apart from his or her neighbors. With no children my age, I had pretend friends. These guys would protect me from evil dragons and nasty things that go bump in the night.
I wrote on and off during my teens and due to illness at the age of 19, I just stopped writing, drawing and reading. When I turned 21, I married and moved to England, where I currently reside with my husband (affectionately referred to as; Dragonman) and had 3 children.
In 2007 I decided to write again. My first novel, The Guardians, was my attempt at creating those beloved characters from my childhood. Due to complications at the time with my health, The Guardians remained unpublished. 2008-2009 my health improved 100% and Black Pyramid was born.
I’ve always held a passion for anything to do with Egypt. So after 2 years of writing, Black Pyramid was self published with AuthorHouse on July 2010. I had a lot of success and was approached by kNight Romance Publishing in August of that same year. I signed a contract in October for the second printing of Black Pyramid.
Black Pyramid is the first novel in a vast series called: The Ancient Breeds. For those unfamiliar with the story, it’s about Siaak, a SandWalker who traps Osiris, an evil BloodSeeker inside the Black Pyramid. And with her last words, Osiris vows to return to destroy the world. Unfortunately, due to its epic size, BP is still undergoing editing and revisions. And while I’m waiting, I decided to write a few short stories.
The Mask, with all proceeds going to a friend in need, and The Painting is now in the hands of my editor, will be released soon.
I have a few more shorts in the works, The Werewolf’s Apprentice, Dangerous Lies, number 2 in the Sinfabulous escort short story series. But I’m really keen to see BP in print again and to make everyone at KRP proud. It’s an honor to work with so many talented people!
Please visit my website: http://www.ancientbreeds.co.uk/ and sign up as a member.
Read more about A D's books below:
When Catherine Stockholm’s grandmother passed away, she inherited more than she bargained. And the first night alone in Alexandra’s house, Catherine finds out the horrible secret behind the painting.
When Vaykrin emerged from his prison, he desired nothing more than his freedom…and the love of Catherine. And the first night she spent in the old Victorian house, Vaykrin desperately hopes to explain his dilemma. Only instead of securing his heart’s desire, she flees from him. Can Vaykrin win her heart, or stay forever trapped inside, The Painting?
The Mask is a short erotic tale that takes place during the spooky holiday we all know and love— Halloween. Denise finds a mysterious mask left on her doorstep. And she’s about to find out there's more to it than meets the eye. Especially after the owner of the mask turns up to claim his lost property and her as well!
This is the first in the Sinfabulous Escort agency short story series.
All Proceeds for The Mask are being donated for a good cause - a friend in need.
Buy your copy of The Mask for 99 cents http://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/50670/1/the-mask
Keep visiting for more releases by A.D. Stewart!
I'd like to welcome Author Jude Stephens to my site as my next Featured Author. Jude has been having an affair with vampires for quite some time now! The evidence is clear in her books of The Evolved Series and her most recent short story Vampire Delights on Polar Nights. I have read all of Jude's books and let me asure you they are not for the feint of heart. These books are HOT! If nice and steamy is right up your alley you can't miss this author. Let's learn a little more about Jude Stephens.
I have always had a great love for what people today call paranormal but growing up we just called scary. Raised on Bram Stokers Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I knew from an early age I wanted to write about things that were different. People have often told me I have a strange imagination. I happen to think that there's nothing strange about a world where anything is possible. I didn't always write erotica...most of my work has been short stories in the horror genre. Maybe one day I will work up the courage to send them off to a publisher!
I live in
Now that we know more about Jude let's take a look at her books:
On a trip to
Roberto Valente is a dark, sensuous vampire who is used to being in command. Olivia finds herself drawn to him and what he can teach her about her out of control passion.
Alexander Sandstrom is the light to Roberto’s darkness. It seems that the fun loving vampire doesn’t take anything too serious except his feelings for Olivia.
Overwhelmed and confused she is faced with an even greater threat. A secret organization, The Guardians want to use her abilities to hunt and kill the Evolved whom they consider abominations.
Her life in turmoil, she must choose her path and follow her heart to the vampire that is her destiny.
Three months after learning she is one of The Evolved, beings that hide among humanity because of their DNA link with animals, Orenda Sherman’s world is turned upside down by betrayal. Deciding to take command of her own fate, Orenda begins a journey to discover her Native American heritage.
What she finds is a handsome man named Cheve, who will train her to fulfill her destiny of uniting the Evolved and the human race. Not only will he train her mind and body, but he will teach her how to control the flames of desire that are so easily ignited by the right touch.
Interrupting this crucial training are the two sexy vampires Orenda became entangled with in
On a small frozen island in the Antarctica, stands a structure committed to ensuring a future for the earth’s population, a place for countries to store seeds in case of world disaster. Far below the precious seeds lies another place, one where a clandestine organization holds eight captured vampires.
Nicholas Patroclus is a twelve hundred year old vampire and responsible for saving seven other vampires being held in a region that is every vampire’s worse nightmare. Soon the two and a half month long polar nights will descend upon them and he and the other vampires will perish. Breaking vampire code, Nicholas tells his captors what they need to survive. Sexual release.
Karen Walls is a Commander with a global agency that is dedicated to saving the world and has never questioned an assignment. Not even when it requires her to oversee eight of her colleagues who’ve volunteered to sexually service eight possibly dangerous vampires.
Eight vampires, eight women come together with dangerous secrets and explosive desires. During the long, sensuous polar nights their beliefs and values will be forever shattered when they give in to passionate delights.
You can find Jude's books at the following websites:
www.solsticepublising.com - Best Deal!
Visit Jude at her website