Tag Archives: romance

What’s In A Name?


BenI’m glad to welcome Author Margaret Locke here to share insights into the names of characters  and a little about her new paranormal romantic comedy.

Margaret: When you read a novel, how much attention do you pay to character names? (***Beth: A lot!)

Names give characters flavor right from the start. Certain names just sound like certain kinds of characters, right? Heroes are rarely Eugenes or Nesbits, and villains usually boast better monikers than Joe or Bob. Melodious, flowing names render characters more appealing, whereas crisp, crackling names give the opposite impression.

While I’ve always appreciated interesting – but not too ludicrous – names in the romances I read, I’d never really thought much about why authors chose particular names (beyond the associations above) – until I had to come up with character names myself.

Choosing the perfect name for each character in A Man of Character was both thrilling and daunting. Thrilling, because of the possibilities in terms of (more or less) subconscious associations, and because I could choose names I loved. Daunting, because people react strongly to names, and I feared giving a main character a name readers hated!

Here’s a little insight into the names of the main characters in A Man of Character:

Grayson

Catherine Schreiber – I’ve always loved the nickname “Cat,” partly, I’m sure, because of my affection for felines. What better name to use for my main character? The crispness of her nickname reflects the sharper edges of Cat, whereas the full name showcases her softer side. And Schreiber? Schreiber means “writer” in German.

Eliza James – Cat’s best friend is a Jane Austen aficionado, so I had give her a name that calls Miss Austen to mind, right? Eliza is in homage to Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice fame, and James reminded me not only of Jane, but sounded quite British, indeed.

Ben Cooper – Ah, Ben. The affable computer science professor who’s definitely not an alpha male. I wanted a good, friendly name that was neither dominant, nor weak. Benjamin also worked well in a favorite scene of mine, excerpted below. As for Cooper? That’s my hat tip to one of my favorite characters, Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory fame.

old love letter with rosesDerrick Gibson – The star quarterback. I needed a suitably 80s/early 90s name that could be shortened (if you read the book, you’ll know why). And Gibson? Well, one of the popular football players in my high school had the last name Gibson. It fit.

Grayson Phillips – Grayson. The seductive poetry-quoting grad student. No ordinary name would do for this fellow. A friend got me addicted to the show “Drop Dead Diva” around the same time I was name-brainstorming. Since the show featured a handsome fellow named Grayson, I figured I’d borrow it – good associations and all. Phillips? That’s that same friend’s last name, so it was my way of honoring her.

William Dawes – I remember sitting in Panera, hands hovering over the keyboard as I struggled to come up with a name for this wealthy investment manager. It needed to be traditional, yet not stodgy. The only name that kept popping into my head was Richard Dawson – yes, the Richard Dawson of Family Feud fame. I giggled at the image, but that name obviously wasn’t the right one. However, shortening Dawson to Dawes, and borrowing the very regal William, did the trick.

And there you go! Pretty much every name in A Man of Character, even down to the cats, has meaning for me, but I’ll stop at these main ones.

dark red rose budI’d love to hear from you!

As a reader, how much do character names matter to you?

Is having insight into character names valuable, or would you rather draw your own conclusions and associations (given the content of this post, I’m rather hoping the former, but want honest answers, anyway)?

Does the name make the character, or the character influence associations with the name?

If you’re a writer, how much thought do you put into name choices?

Finally, what are some of your favorite fictional character names – and why?

AMOCCoverA Man of Character blurb:

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do…especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

A startling revelation – that these men are fictional characters she’d created and forgotten years ago – forces Cat to reevaluate her world and the people in it. Because these characters are alive. Here. Now. And most definitely in the flesh.

Her best friend, Eliza, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, is thrilled by the possibilities. The power to create Mr. Perfect – who could pass that up? But can a relationship be real if it’s fiction? Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which – or whom – she wants more.

Blending humor with unusual twists, including a magical manuscript, a computer scientist in shining armor, and even a Regency ball, A Man of Character tells a story not only of love, but also of the lengths we’ll go for friendship, self-discovery, and second chances.

rosesExcerpt from A Man of Character:

“That’s a fantastic book,” she commented, hoping he hadn’t been able to hear her previous conversation. She didn’t like the idea of anyone hearing details of her sex life. Well, potential sex life, anyway.

“Is it? I started it this morning,” came a deep voice in reply. He ran his fingers over the cover. “It was a gift from my parents. They delight in sending me anything related to Benjamin Franklin.”

“Really? Why?”

A sheepish expression crossed his face. “Because they named me after him. My parents are obsessed with colonial America. My mom’s a proud member of the D.A.R., and claims a number of our ancestors served during the Revolutionary War.”

Cat grinned. “Do you have a brother named Jefferson?”

“No.” His lips thinned, and his eyes squeezed shut for a moment. “He was George Washington, actually.”

Recognizing that all-too-familiar look of loss, Cat impulsively reached over and rubbed his hand to soothe him. When his eyes dropped to her fingers, she pulled them away. What had come over her, touching a stranger like that?’~

***Fascinating, Margaret. Thanks!

You can find A Man of Character here:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AManOfCharacter

Anne2About Margaret Locke:

As a teen, Margaret Locke pledged to write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things, not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader. Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fab kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window; she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person). Please visit her at margaretlocke.com. She’s also often hanging out on Facebook, GoodReads, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Rose LetterWebsite: http://margaretlocke.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorMargaretLocke

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretLocke

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Margaret_Locke

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Margaret_Locke

Historical Romance Novel Traitor’s Legacy On Sale for .99!


TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)Traitor’s Legacy, the sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, is reduced to .99 in kindle at Amazon and nook book at Barnes & Noble.

Journey back to the drama, intrigue, and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly.

Traitor’s Legacy Blurb:

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

traitors curse***The Sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, ghostly Gothic historical romance novel, Traitor’s Curse, will be out this fall on November 6th. Stay tuned.

This is a series of three novels, so far. Each story is written to stand alone, but it’s more meaningful for the reader to begin at the beginning with Enemy of the King set in 1780 South Carolina.

Southern Gothic Mystery by Susan Coryell–Beneath the Stones


beneath the stones coverAs a Virginian who enjoys Southern themes with mystery, romance, and a Gothic flavor, I’m pleased to have fellow Wild Rose Press Author, Susan Coryell, here to share her new release, BENEATH THE STONES, published in April, 2015,. The story is a standalone sequel to A Red, Red Rose. Both are cozy mystery/Southern Gothics.

From Susan: I wrote the sequel to A Red, Red Rose because so many reviewers asked for one. Much research was involved for Beneath the Stones since it is a contemporary setting with a Civil War background as a major theme: Unresolved issues from the past can literally haunt us in the present.

Civil War, American Civil War, War, Ghost, Armed Forces,The Civil War letters included in Beneath the Stones are based on actual letters written from battle fronts by family ancestors, Joseph Franklin Stover and John William Stover. After my mother-in-law’s death, the family found a nondescript box in her file cabinet. Inside we were amazed to find fifteen letters hand-written in beautiful, flowing script. Since this occurred as I was in the midst of writing Beneath the Stones, I immediately seized on the idea of using excerpts from the letters in the novel. Though, for practical reasons, I omitted many details, overall the letters reveal a haunting picture of life for the Confederate soldier. A final note: The flute mentioned in one of the letters is very likely the same flute on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox, Virginia.~

Fascinating, Susan! I love the depth this gives your work. Our family also unearthed a treasure trove of letters from my great-great-grandfather George W. Finley who fought and was captured at Gettysburg and became one of the Immortal Six Hundred.. He’s one of the few surviving Confederates who not only lived to tell the tale, but wrote it all down. These connections with the past are so meaningful and moving. My brother, John Churchman, is doing a nonfiction book on Grandpa Finley.

southern-plantation-homeStory Blurb for Beneath the Stones:

Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife–where immortality infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate.

Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution.

Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome. Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on her?

small pro photo of SusanLinks for Susan

Her Website: www.susancoryellauthor.com

Facebook page:

Amazon Buy links for Beneath the Stones: Paperback and Kindle 

The ‘Magick’ of Ireland with Author Patty Taylor


A warm welcome to my friend and fellow author, Patty Taylor, here to share about her fascinating Irish heritage and upcoming Celtic fantasy romance.

Dunluce Castle #1 edited(Dunluce Castle–This image and all others by Patty Taylor)

Good Morning Everyone. :)  I wish to thank my friend and mentor, Beth, for inviting me as a guest today on her lovely blog. I feel honored to be here and hope I can come back again as soon as my first novel, “Mortal Magick” is released in June by Soul Mate Publishing.. By then, I’ll be able to share my cover and a peek at a few of the other stories I’m currently working on. I write fantasy/paranormal romance with a wee bit of magical lore woven into all my stories. I “love animals”, and enjoy spinning exotic fibers on my spinning wheels where I’ve blended my beloved Samoyeds (dogs) undercoats with alpaca, sheep and even Angora wool. I’m hoping one day for the opportunity to get my hands on some white wolf undercoat (or any wolf’s undercoat), but that’s another story…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Mount Stewart)

I enjoy centering my adventures in various places like Scotland’s mystical Isle of Skye, the magical Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland and the secluded wilderness of Alaska – where fairies, brownies, shape-shifters and mythical creatures come to life.

The person who influenced me the most to pursue my writing, was my beloved Mother, Evelyn V. Taylor. Her own story of how she came to live in the United States and became a citizen of this country has always inspired me. Born and raised in County Down, Northern Ireland, she served in the British Army during WWII where she met and fell in love with my tall and handsome Daddy, a US Sergeant. Soon after they were married, she crossed the ocean by ship by herself, to wait the arrival of my Daddy’s return to the states. I’ll always admire her strength and courage for beginning a new adventure in a strange country with no family of her own, to start a life with the man she fell in love with and raise a family.  And with the discovery of my father having American Indian heritage, both cultures have made a huge impact on my imagination.

Glens of Antrim, Gorse1(Glens of Antrim with gorse in bloom)

I inherited her superstitions and respectful beliefs in the wee people and fairies, along with her love for reading and storytelling. Mom was the first to introduce me to the magical world of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis. On my last visit to Ireland, my cousin, Yvonne, took me to see the Wardrobe statue outside the library in Belfast and I even sat in the chair. There were happy tears that morning. As a child, I fell in love with the movies Darby O’Gill and the little People and the adventures of Gulliver’s Travels, along with many other Walt Disney Movies she took me to see. To this day, I still tear up watching the “Quiet Man” – one of my mother’s favorites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My beloved husband, Michael, still comments how he believes I’ll always remain a kid at heart, and I have both my parents to thank for that. Especially my Mom, as I still treasure the wee mustard seed necklace she gave me as a child to teach me about having faith. Without realizing it, she also planted another special gift deep within my heart. To never abandon my dreams, and my love for the enchanting world of fantasy and Magick.

(Patty sitting in front of the famous wardrobe that leads to Narnia.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Images from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, taken in a Belfast Library. ***Beth has to jump in here to say that this is my favorite author and book. I love all the Chronicles of Narnia, but this one is the best.)

Back to Patty: I feel blessed to be fortunate to visit my Mom’s home for the very 1st time in 2010, and got to see the building where my parents first met, the places she took my Daddy to visit and the mystical country where she was raised.  Like stepping back in time, my imagination ran wild with the reality of finally seeing the magical qualities of this beautiful and amazing country.  I’m delighted to share a few photos from my visit.

And we are delighted to see them, Patty. Wonderful pics!

 lace-cap hydrangea(Fairy flowers–Lace-cap hydrangea)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Fairy tree)

Gorse in bloom(More gorse in bloom with quaint cottages)

I’m also excited to have this wonderful opportunity today to share a wee bit about my first published novel, “Mortal Magick”, a time travel fantasy romance coming this June.

Giant's Causeway stepping stones 1When an immortal Highlander falls in love with a human witch,”Mortal Magick” soon casts a spell of its own. 

Story Blurb:

As Keara, a modern day reluctant witch from Maryland, finds herself whisked back to 18th century mystical Isle of Skye, she’s taught lessons in both magic and love after being rescued by the rugged and extremely handsome Highlander, Duncan McCord. To add a wee touch of “when beauty meets beast” charm to their adventure, along with the mischievous antics of a whimsical Scottish Brownie character, named Darby, Keara soon discovers that Duncan is dealing with a serious problem of his own. He’s been cursed to live a nocturnal life of half man and half beast for eternity.

I hope all of you will help me celebrate and look forward to reading my story, Mortal Magick, and the future sequel, Sea Wolf Magick.   

Get ready for two magical adventures – Journey across the

Mystical Isle of Skye, to the Enchanting land of Fire and Ice . . .”

To find out more about me and my books, please stop by and visit my new  website at:  http://www.pattytaylorauthor.com/ 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also invite you to follow me on Twitter under Patty Taylor, Author, and friend me on Facebook.

Thanks once again to my gracious and kind friend and host, Beth Trissel, for having me here today, and to all of you that took the time to stop by to meet me and leave your comments :)

Lovely to have you, Patty. I look forward to your return to the blog and your exciting new release in June.

(Images of Giant’s Causeway Stepping Stones and Primula Candelabra above)

*** Patty will return in May for a post on spinning and sheep, with pics! I can’t wait. And again in the summer for a post on fairies and when her new book comes out., Then again in the fall for our focus on  C S Lewis, including pics from her next trip to Ireland. We both love The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Chronicles of Narnia.  

Join me on Blogtalkradio at The Hummingbird Place


Colonial American historical romance novel

Colonial American historical romance novel

On Monday, Nov. 24th, at 7:30 pm. My topic is Historicals – the Revolutionary War. My recent release, Traitor’s Legacy, set during the American Revolution, is the sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King. The Traitor’s Legacy Series. I’m only on for 15 minutes, but gonna beat my drum loud and proud. :) There will be more on this topic from others. Follow the link below.

I recently finished the third novel in the Traitor’s Legacy Series and sent it to my editor. Set on the heels of the American Revolution, Traitor’s Curse deals with the aftermath of the war, and has a ghostly Gothic flavor. More on that book later.

To listen in and for more on the show visit:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hummingbirdplace/2014/11/25/historicals–revolutionary-war-american-british-french

Book Launch for Historical Romance Traitor’s Legacy in Historic Halifax, NC


At the gala beside signs that resemble a colonial tavern.

At the gala beside signs that resemble a colonial tavern.

Discover Historic Halifax, at the forefront of the battle for independence, and the site of mystery and adventure. Where love wars with duty and allegiances, and false friends betray all.

A gala in a lovely home with special touches to make it resemble a tavern kicked off the three-day event. On Saturday, period reenactors, dancers, and musicians brought Historic Halifax to life for the book signing of Traitor’s Legacy. Like a mini Williamsburg, the town is a gem and well worth a visit. On Sunday afternoon, the charming 18th century tavern/inn, Person’s Ordinary, hosted me for a second book signing. Proceeds go toward preservation of Historic Halifax and the Ordinary. I can’t thank these good folk enough for all they did to make this a fantastic event.

Tavern style menu with dishes named after characters in the book.

Tavern style menu with dishes named after characters in the book.

Beth with the town crier

Beth with the town crier

Journey back to the drama and romance of the American Revolution where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly…historical romance novel, Traitor’s Legacy.

Story Blurb: 1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

At the Masonic Royal White Hart Lodge, No. 2

At the Masonic Royal White Hart Lodge, No. 2

In May, 1781, the British Legion, soon joined by General Lord Cornwallis with the rest of the army, occupied Halifax, NC. This episode in history drew me and I read all the accounts I could find. The bulk of Traitor’s Legacy takes place in the Halifax area during the British occupation, and culminates in colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. While also being adventurous, Traitor’s Legacy is more of a mystery than Enemy of the King, with spies, turncoats, a coded letter, intrigue, and above all, romance.  I am at work on the sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, entitled Traitor’s Curse. These novels comprise the Traitor’s Legacy Series.

Three ladies who made the gala happen

Three ladies who made the gala happen

Quilt at the quilt show

They also had a beautiful quilt show.

Signing at the lodge with friends from the valley.

Signing at the lodge with friends from the valley.

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne


When I first took up writing romance novels with an all-out passion, I knew absolutely nothing about the genre, or the business of writing. No notion of the massive journey that lay ahead. I was as unwitting as a newly hatched duckling, and thought I could embark on this quest and sail along. 

I remember the first contest I entered, assuming I would win, of course. I was mentally planning my award acceptance speech when I received my scores. Not good, would you believe. I was stunned. One judge tossed me a bone. ‘You have talent,’ she assured me, ‘as evidenced in your flair for description. 

Another bemused judge observed, ‘You broke every rule.’

‘Rules?’ I mused. ‘There’s rules?’

I mean, who knew?

After a three day pout, I resumed the journey.

Somewhere along this rugged uphill climb, a kind soul directed me to RWA. I can’t imagine how I would have grasped the rudiments without them and other writing groups. Always before me lay a new turn in the path, another hurdle to master, and onward ho I went like a sled dog through blinding snow, uncertain where shelter lay. Quitting might have been threatened, but was never a real option. No one ever achieves success by abandoning the quest. I knew that. Still do. So, wherever you are in the process, whether reveling in your stardom, or just undertaking this life changing journey, keep going. It’s a well worn path and there are kindly guides along the way.

My basic thinking about writing is that stuff’s gotta happen or you lose the reader’s attention. Onward ho.

Some wise quotes for inspiration:


If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

 
I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

 

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~W. Somerset Maugham 


Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~Sholem Asch


I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries

Publication — is the auction of the Mind of Man. ~Emily Dickinson