What’s in a name?

As an author, naming characters can be either a pain or a joy.  It’s not unusual to see a book of baby names on the shelf of a writer; it’s where we go when we’re desperate. Oh, and cemeteries and the birth section of the newspaper are also terrific mining sites!

You see, most characters don’t come to us named. They come to us the same way our children do:  a ready-made person with his or her own needs and personality, and they expect us to find them an appropriate moniker. Sometimes it’s easier than others.

I myself am very picky about names, probably because they have such meaning to me. Having a very unusual name has tremendous impact on a person, and I assume that having a very common name has its own set of challenges. So when I meet a new character, one of the first things I do is jot down his or her name, because if I don’t write that story right away, it will drive me crazy if I can’t remember the name.

In The King Series, almost all of the names have meaning. Tasmyn is an interesting story. She actually began as Tamsyn, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I switched the letters and liked it better.  I only discovered much later the meaning of her name, and how eerily it fit into the story as it was already written. Pretty cool.

Michael was thus named because it fit his personality–and I learned later that he was named after an archangel. I loved his parents’ names, too–they just fit them.

Nell came to me with her name, but after she had read the first draft of Fearless, my sister pointed out that her name might have some personal history for me after all!  Sometimes these things are more subconscious than we know.

Waiting in the wings, in upcoming books, are Jackie and Lucas, and Sam. . .Carly and Russ and Jake. . .Jesse, Abby and Nat (oh, THAT is a good story. . .).

So what’s in a name?  More than you might think.


Lazy Summer Reads Book Hop!

Welcome to the Lazy Summer Reads Book Hop! Time to find all those great reads for the beach, the pool or wherever you plan to chill during the long hot days of summer.

Thanks to eReading on the Cheap and Midwestern Moms for hosting this hop. Be sure to hop around and visit ALL the sites participating–they are some terrific prizes being offered!

I’m giving away a SIGNED paperback copy of BREATHLESS, Book 2 of The King Series. To enter for a chance to win, LIKE my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and Pinterest and sign up for my site updates! This contest runs from June 1-8.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The secret life of an indie author

The more I talk about being an author, the more I realize how skewed perceptions can be.

I think when people hear “indie author”, they immediately assume that this is something I’m doing in my spare time, perhaps under cover of darkness. Perhaps I sneak out of bed at night to furtively write my stories, keeping it completely separate from my so-called real life.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Being an indie author is actually a full-time occupation, just as being any other kind of writer is a real job.  It doesn’t mean that every writer is able to only write–most of us are hyphenated–but the time commitment is the same.

I am a homeschooling-mom-writer.  (That doesn’t even touch my wife gig.)  A typical day (if there is such a thing) might look like this:  I wake up in the morning around 7, when my husband leaves for work. I glance through my email on my phone, because I can do that without getting out of bed.  And at this point, I can’t really get out of bed, because I am usually pinned down by one cat and possible the dog, too.

When my eyes are ready to open for real, I first tackle whatever Facebook and Twitter interactions need to be addressed–requests for reviews, other social media connections, editing/critiquing submissions.  And it’s right about then that the cats let me know in no uncertain terms that it is TIME FOR TREATS.

Once I’m out of bed, I try to complete my morning chores like making the bed and tossing in laundry.  I can usually accomplish those and maybe even sneak in a little editing or more email answers before the kids are up and ready for school.

I try really hard not to sneak in peeks to my social media sites while I’m schooling the kids, but I have to admit. . .sometimes while they’re working on math or spelling, I might catch a glimpse of my phone notifications.

In the late afternoon before dinner, I try to sit down to deal with any other email or messages that have come up during the day and if I can, work on my own writing, editing or planning.

After dinner, I sit down and am in my chair for sometimes 4-6 hours, working on my own writing and editing.  And of course, before I go to bed, I hit promotion again, checking and posting on Facebook and Twitter and scheduling my tweets for the following day, as well as working on any reviews, interviews, guest posts or articles that I’ve promised.

Some time after midnight, I give in to the pointed stares of the cats and fork over the night time treats, before I grab a little sleep and get ready to do it all again.

Glamorous and exciting. . .that’s the life of an indie writer. Slash homeschooling mom. Slash wife.

A Few Thoughts

This is a sort of PS to the last post about the NJ tour.

I learned a few things that I found interesting.  First of all, the students with whom I spoke were very interested in the creative process as a whole, as it relates not only to writing but to all forms of art. They wanted to know what sparked a story, what kept me writing and what was hard.

I was really fascinated to learn that among the seniors were many e-reader fans, but in the sophomore class, there was not a Nook or Kindle among them, and they did not do e-books at all. A generation gap of sorts? Perhaps.

A few students still referred to my paperback books as ‘real’ books as opposed to e-books, which I reminded them were every bit as real. Not sure that made an impression, but I put it out there!

All of the audiences were equally receptive to indie authors as they were to trad pubs. . it didn’t even phase them.

Very cool to interact with my audiences!