Category Archives: research

A visit to CRW…

Yesterday, I visited the Contemporary Romance Writers blog and gave a few tips about conference going.  Here’s the link: 

If you can’t access the link, here’s the article in its entirety

Memories from a first time RWA conference attendee. . .

(and what I learned to do- and not do – for the next conference.)

~ By Peggy Jaeger

In 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference in San Antonio. Not knowing what to expect from the conference, I’d gone with the idea that, as a trying-to-get-published romance writer, I was going to go all in, attend every workshop on craft and publishing, listen to every professional chat, set up as many editor and agent appointments as I was allowed, and basically do everything and see everything offered.

What’s that old saying: you make plans and God laughs? Yeah. Describes me perfectly.

The reality was so very different from what I’d planned, that it was almost comical.

First of all, there was no way I could attend every single workshop I wanted because so many of them overlapped or were at the same time as the others. I hadn’t realized I could see the full schedule on line before going, so I’d just assumed I’d be able to see what I wanted. Nope. Lesson learned? Plan ahead. Read through the online listing (now that you know it’s there!) and consider each class/workshop/chat for what it will bring to you as a writer. The conference is available on audio you can purchase, so if you miss classes, you can still hear their useful info when you get home.

I signed up for the Agent/Editor appointments. You were allowed one of each, so I scrolled through their names, saw a few big time agent names I recognized, then the publishers I knew about and made my choices. Again, God must have been chuckling big-time at my choices. Why? Because I hadn’t done any research on the people I was going to speak with. The Agent specialized in historical romance and YA. I write contemporary adult romance. The editor was from a house that was acquiring only through agents. Double flub on my part. Lesson learned? Research. Every single one of those agents and editors had a link to their websites, agencies, and publishing houses. If I’d done my due diligence and clicked on the one I wanted to meet with, I would have known before choosing them that they weren’t going to be interested in me or my work. Along with that, do not bring twenty typed copies of your manuscript to give to potential agents/editors. They don’t want to be schlepping a ton of unnecessary stuff home with them. This is the age of email and attachments.

Since this was my first RWA I had no idea all the “stuff” (and by stuff I mean swag and books) you receive at the conference. Every publishing house gives out complimentary books during their spotlight events; every breakfast, lunch and dinner has a guest speaker who also leave a book or two on every chair; the Goodie room is chock full of swag, free books, and just…stuff. I brought one suitcase with me that was already stuffed with my own stuff. Now I had over 6o free books and no room. Shipping them would have cost about $100.00. Lesson learned? Bring an extra bag/suitcase. You will be happy you did.

Again, since this was my first conference, I wanted to promote myself as a professional, so I brought nice clothes and outfits and shoes to go with them. Because I’m short all my shoes are 4 inches or above. If anyone has ever spent 12 hours in five inch heels you know the kind of agony I was in each and every night. Lesson learned? Dress appropriately, but comfortably. Kitten heels would have been fine! You want to make a good impression, especially on agents and editors, but you don’t need to look like you just stepped out of the pages of Vogue, or like you just crawled out of bed after a binge-drinking night at the hotel bar.

Realize you are going to see and possibly meet some of your all time favorite authors. It’s okay to fan-girl. It’s not okay to stalk. I stalked Nora Roberts at my first conference. The moment I saw her across the hotel lobby I simply lost my mind. She was on her way out of the building for a cigarette break. I am ashamed to admit this, but I followed her. It was like I was in some kind of trace. I knew what I was doing was illegal in 50 states, but I had no will to stop myself. When she stopped outside and lit up, I stood in the vestibule behind the glass doors just…watching her smoke. After a minute I realized what I was doing and snapped out of. Then I spotted Jill Shalvis on the escalator going down while I was going up. I jumped off and headed back down and followed her into the hotel coffee shop. Again… I was in a trance, I swear! Lesson learned? Be prepared to meet your writing idols but don’t do anything you could get arrested for!! When I spotted three twenty-somethings at the Literacy signing squeal like pigs when they met Jayne Ann Krentz, it drilled that lesson home.

One of the best things I did at the first conference was attend the RWA First Timer’s presentation. It was filled with helpful hints about how to get the most out of the conference without feeling overwhelmed, or as if you missed something. I highly recommend setting aside the two hours of the class and fitting it into your schedule.

This year the conference is in Orlando/Disney. In July. Florida in July is not a time frame for curly haired gals like me, so this year will bring its own set of problems and concerns! But I’m still going because I don’t want to miss the exciting, informative, and fun events and classes being offered. I’ll just need to pack an extra canister of hairspray.

Or maybe more than just one extra.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Website/Blog || Twitter || Amazon Author Page || Facebook || Pinterest || Goodreads  || Instagram

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

#RT2017 day 1, reflections

Yesterday was the first day of RT in Atlanta, and it was an abbreviated day. No morning sessions, or parties, or anything until 2:30 pm. I got my name tag, figured out all the rules and regs about the book signing, etc. I look a little cock-eyed in this picture, but I’m official, so that’s all that matters.

Since I’ve never attended an RT convention before, I attended what was called  RT CONVENTION VIRGINS. Yeah. It’s just like it sounds. A packed room full of people ( writers, readers, bloggers, industry folks) who have never….experienced RT before. You thought I was going to say something dirty, didn’t you? Admit it!. Anyway. It was an hour filled with stuff you need to know to have a good RT experience. The number one thing all the presenters said that will make your experience memorable and worthwhile? Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Yeah…I know. Maybe it’s the nurse in me but I thought this was just something common sense-y everyone knew.

Apparently not. Stories of people fainting while standing in line or getting urinary tract infections ran the gamut during the talk. Okay. So, of course, I drank. A lot. But I do anyway.

The next thing on my agenda was something called Naughty and Nice. Hosted by a bunch of authors, it was supposed to be an hour of mingling with cover models, sampling Peach bellinis, and tasting dark chocolate. I say supposed because I never got into the event. The one thing I wish the VIRGIN committee would have told me was that you need to line up, like, an hour before the event starts ( hence the fainting, dehydration, yadayadyada). I got to the event space at 4:50 for an 5:15 start and already the line was into the next state. They only admitted 150 people and I was, like, number 482. So, yeah…didn’t get that experience.

Two sessions down and I’m feeling a little…let down. But not to worry. CINEMA CRAPTASTIQUE was on the agenda with the amazeballs Damon Suede. This one was a blast, peeps, especially since I helped stuff goodie bags for the participants and was able to include some of my swag!Anyway, the movie that was watched was the turkey GLITTER starting Mariah “I’m a DIVA from Hell” Carey. Damon ran commentary the entire time the movie was on and I can tell you I needed to change my underpants when I got back to my room because I laughed so much I peed a few times! ( all that f**king water to keep hydrated!)

Today is jammed packed as it’s the first full day of the event. I’m meeting with a potential Literary agent, attending a few classes and then a big party tonight that my publisher KENSINGTON is co-sponsoring called ROMANCE ROCKABILLY. I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell about that on tomorrow’s blog!

I’ll be posting pix and live Tweeting during the event so you can find me here if you’d like to experience RT life vicariously!!:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#Writinglife

Yesterday I worked on a few lines of dialogue for over two hours.

Really.

Did you think all this witty repartee just jumps into my head at will?

No. It doesn’t. Not even close.

Everyone knows writing is a solitary, ofttimes monotonous life and this is why. Creativity, while at times coming in bursts and flames of speed, usually…doesn’t. It’s hours, days, months, sitting at a laptop, playing with phrases, rearranging words, charging emotions with verbs and descriptors, bleeding, spewing, dying and then being reborn until finally FINALLY the perfect sentence or snippet of dialogue that reveals sososososo  much more than is said, is created.

Yeah…it’s just like that.

Every day.

Every. Friggin’. Day.

Can I get an “AMEN” from all my writer friends out in the blogosphere because you know this is true?!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Where I hangout when I want to be #social; #MFRWauthors

Until I became a professional writer ( and by that I mean, one who writes full time and actually gets paid! Yippie!) the biggest social media presence I had was on Facebook, and then it was only because my daughter was away at college and on it, and I wanted to ensure she was okay. And of course by okay I mean that I stalked her posts! She knows this so I’m not worried she’ll be mad at me.

But when my first book was contracted, the publisher suggested – heavily and often! – that all their authors needed to have a very visible social media presence to garner sales and book promo, since they did relatively little in the way of book promotion. It was all on my back. If I wanted my books to sell, I had to get the word out there, so I became a social media junkie.

I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google+, LInkedIn, and of course I made my own Facebook author page in addition to my personal page I use for friends and family. In addition to Instagram and Snapchat. Oh, and how could I forget? My own website that I use for announcements and blogging 4-5 times per week.

And with the arrival of Tribber, well, I’m there, too.

Keeping these sites updated takes a lot of time… a lot of  time. Let’s read that again so you get it: A LOT OF TIME.

Time I could spending, well, writing!

One of these days I’m going to be rich and successful enough to hire a publicist and let her take care of all the updating. Ahhh….. to dream.

Here’s where you can find me most of the time when I should be writing books and not updating you on my life:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

and since this is week 15 of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge, click on some of the names below and see how they’re faring with all this social media stuff.


 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

The things I do for #Writing #research

Last week I divulged that I am a dyed in the wool nosey parker. Really. I’m also a world class eavesdropper. The reason I’m telling you this is because I attended the NECRWA conference in Burlington, Ma, this past weekend and I got there early – Thursday night ( conference started on Friday) and spent the better part of the early evening hanging out in two places: the concierge lounge on my floor and the hotel lobby.

Talk about opportunities to eavesdrop! Holy Moly!

In the lobby was ( wait for it…) a lounge, aka a bar, and my little eavesdropping heart just went pitter patter with glee at all the fun, tips-i-ly things that were said by the patrons. Can I just tell you how much fun I had!!! I know it’s probably a horrible thing to admit, but I really get a kick out of watching people drink and then flirt/talk/flirt some more and keep drinking.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t drink alcohol… and this is one of the reasons why I don’t. I never want to be on the talking end of a conversation that people make fun of. I mean, let’s be honest here. I say enough stupid things when I’m stone cold sober. I can’t even imagine what the heck would come out of my mouth if I was…inebriated.

Anyway, back to my lobby eavesdropping. Here’s one little snippet I “overheard.”

30 something on her way, way passed being tipsy: “Hey, this hot guy I saw the other night had these cool shots . They looked good. I think they had cimmanon. I wanna try one.”

The other 30 something she was with, not as tipsy: “You mean, cinnamon, right?”

Drunken reply; “That’s what I said. They were called fire crotch, cause they were hot. So was they guy. Hot, I mean.” A twitter of hiccuppy laughs followed this.

Not so drunken reply: “Fireballs.”

Drunken Reply: “What?

Not so drunken reply, only louder this time, as if that would help her understand: “He had fireballs.”

Drunken reply through wide eyes and opened mouth: “Really? How do you know that? Did you, like, do him in the bathroom to find that out?” 

See? As far as research goes, this is pure gold, people. Pure gold.

When I’m not eavesdropping you can find me here relating what I’ve eavesdropped: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Why I need to see my characters before I write, part 2

So yesterday I showed you how my mind works. Get your own minds out of the gutter! I meant visually, that’s how!

I see things way before I ever type a single word of my manuscripts. My characters, my settings, the clothes people wear, the weather, everything, really, must be visual to me first.  I have stacks of current magazines in my office that I comb through frequently. Fashion mags, exercise, mags, home improvement ones, even travel issues. I’ll flip through the pages, see an interesting face, or place, or image, and rip it out, storing it in a big box on one of my library shelves.

I troll through Pinterest periodically as well, typing in search words for images I want, such as brown eyed and blonde hair women, or green eyed men.

When I see images that gel with what I’ve been seeing in my mind, I pin them to storyboards in my Pinterest site and sometimes even print them out for inclusion on my visualization board. You may think a great deal of this is redundant, but just having them loaded in a computer file isn’t enough for me. I need to actually see them every day while I’m writing my story.

As I’ve gotten older, I tend to forget little details that are important for my characters and stories. It’s not because I’ve got any kind of creeping dementia or cognitive memory loss. It’s more that there is so much going on in my life in one single day, that remembering what color eyes I gave my hero six weeks ago in chapter one, tends to be difficult if I don’t have the actual picture of the guy close by. A few months ago I was writing my soon-to-be-released 5th book in my Wild Rose Press series of the MacQuire Women, PASSION’S PALETTE,  and one of the characters had  chin length snow-blond hair initially, and the next time we meet her, it’s turned strawberry blonde and is down the middle of her back – three days later! I wasn’t paying attention to my vision board very well during those days, but luckily I caught a glimpse of it one day before submitting the story and fixed the mistake! So that’s all the proof I need to tell me making my vision boards is a worthwhile way to spend some of my creative time.

I’m just gonna throw this out there and say story boarding and plot visualization are as old as civilization. Didn’t primitive cave-people and early societies leave cave and cliff drawings, depicting their ways of life? Their history? Sounds to me an awful lot like storyboarding. Just saying….

So. Hope this helps you understand the way this writer’s brain and creative process works. I don’t think I’m alone in my storyboarding, either. I tend to think since the advent of Pinterest, more writers work this way, simply because it’s so easy to.

When I’m not storyboarding, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

On #bingewatching, #beingcool, and #Millennials

I used to consider myself one of the “cool” people. Really. I did. I was always up on pop culture so I could talk to any age group; my daughter’s friends always asked me questions, opinions, and actually liked sleepovers in our house. They valued my opinion.  I was relatively thin ( for a few years!) and dressed in all the new season’s styles every year.

But something changed and I don’t know when it happened…

Let me esplain it, Lucy.

I was binge watching the E! show So Cosmo about the lives, loves, and careers of twenty-something millennials who all work at COSMOPOLITAN magazine.

I wanted to watch because I wanted to get a “feel” for what millennials are up to these days, to – maybe- use in my writing. I know about women in their 40’s and 50’s but I write about younger gals, so I thought I’d use this show as a sort of reference for putting my finger on the pulse of today’s woman.

What’s that saying about the best laid plans?? Yeah, not so much.

The basic plot line of the show involves the magazine’ surprising turnover of its Editor in Chief Joanna Coles to a new editor. Joanna is 2 years younger than myself ( me, 56; her, 54) and is a powerful, assertive, smart smart smart woman in an industry that has been typically defined and run by men: publishing. She brought COSMO  to the number one magazine women buy – both in trade ink copy and e-zine – during her tenure. To say she is a woman who gets things done and has her finger on the pulse of the Cosmo “girl,” is true. For the purpose of disclosure, Joanna was offered a new position with the Hearst organization ( the parent company of Cosmo) – a much more powerful position, which is why she was leaving Cosmo. You go, girl!

As I started watching the show I was quickly invested in the lives of the cast – all 20 and early 30 somethings. Most of them were single ( one was married with a kid), lived in Manhattan and took full advantage of city living by going out most nights to “party” and de-stress. Now, when I was their age (a millennia ago!) “party” meant literally that. Have a party to celebrate something. Apparently, it doesn’t mean the same thing anymore and this is where I realized my cool moniker was starting to shift.

By the third show I realized I was not only NOT cool anymore, I wasn’t going to be again in this lifetime if this was the yardstick to measure cool-dom by! I didn’t even understand most of the references the cast was using about fashion, life, and relationships. COSMO prides itself on being the voice of female empowerment and I totally buy that.  The Cosmo girl is billed as successful, smart, and sexy; able to live life to the fullest with no regrets, and the women in this cast are. Their purpose is to advise, counsel, and acquaint women on a myriad of topics relating to life, love, career, and finances.

But as I watched this show and the lives of its cast unfold, I began to realize that female empowerment does not mean the same thing to all women. For instance, the word “party” again. To some of the cast women it meant – basically – going out and getting as drunk as they could in an effort to unwind from the stress of their work lives. In the next breath, during the cast interviews, they would say they were living the dream life. So why then, is their work life so stressed they need to get drunk to unwind from it?
See what I’m saying?

They also look at relationships in a much different way than I thought. It’s cool now ( apparently) to hook up ( another word that doesn’t mean what it used to!)  with a series of people randomly, casually, and with no strings attached until you find one you may want to stay with…for a while. Maybe. Cosmo millennials don’t appear to view that whole Happily Ever After with a single mate concept as a  valid thing.

Okay, so now I am not only NOT cool, my whole existence for being -writing the HEA – isn’t ( apparently) relevant!

Before you write me scathing letters, hating me for trashing an entire generation of millennials,  know this: I realize this is just one little “reality” show on a network known for scripted reality shows. My daughter is a millennial who happens to live in Manhattan and I know she and her friends – who are all successful, smart women – don’t think and act in the typical Cosmo Girl fashion portrayed in this show.

Believe me – I get it!

It doesn’t erase the fact that I am no longer cool,  though!

When I’m not bemoaning my lack of cool, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The art of #naming your characters

I love names. Especially names where you can actually see the origin. Like SIOBHAN ( Irish!) NICOLLETTE (French) ANTONIO (Italian.)

Naming characters has always been a little bit of an obsession for me because I like to find names that actually mean something inherent in the person. For instance, my name, Margaret, means PEARL. If I was going to write a story with that name as my heroine’s ( and I never will because I hate my name!!!)  I would most likely give her attributes associated with pearls – strong outer shells, they take a lifetime to evolve, they are rare. You get the idea.

When I start a new book I always start with my characters first and the naming process usually takes me a few days to get right, especially with my hero and heroine. I want their names to connect, to go together, to be individualistic, but nonetheless when you hear the names mentioned you think “couple.” Like Oprah and Stedman, Goldie and Kurt, Elizabeth and Darcy. See? They go together ( why does that song from GREASE keep playing in my mind??)

Some writers spend more time naming their fictional characters than normal, non-writing people do naming their children. I feel both are crucial. You don’t want to name your alpha hero Marmeduke and please don’t name your child Zippity Doo Cogwheel or FeMale Jones. Don’t laugh…I have a doctor friend who told me a story of her OB/GYN internship days and a couple named their daughter after the name tag the hospital gave her: Female. But they thought it was pronounced  Fe-mal-ay. People are weird. Names shouldn’t be.

There are as many books and websites detailing names as there are, well, names. Baby Naming books get new editions yearly, as the popular and trendy names for kids change with the culture. Old Bibles are great places to get names especially if you are writing an historical novel. Writers who cater to fantasy or science fiction have a great deal of leeway in naming their characters because they can call them whatever they want ( like Zippity Doo Cogwheel) since they are inventing their own world with their own rules.

You don’t even need a baby naming book – although they are a fast, easy reference tool. You’re on your computer, so just get to your search engine. If you click Google images and type in name-meaning ( and then the name you want, like Margaret) you will get an unlimited array of images with the meaning of the name. That’s how I got the Margaret sign above.

Naming your characters and then giving them attributes associated with the name is a fabulous way of actually bringing your characters to life and having them be memorable to readers. Would Scarlett O’Hara have been such an icon if Gone With The Wind was published with the original name Margaret Mitchell gave her of Pansy? “Frankly, Pansy, I don’t give a damn!” doesn’t have the weight of “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!”  Pansy means “thought”, Scarlett means “Sent from Heaven.” Now we all know Scarlett O’Hara never gave a “thought” to anything but herself and Tara, and as seen through the eyes of the men in her realm, sent from Heaven seems appropriate, no?

So, when you decide to name your characters ( or your children!) please please please give it careful, complete, thought. Don’t just pick a name out of the air or call them fruit ( anyone remember Apple Martin?) or weigh them down with a moniker they’ll never live down like Dweezle or Moon Unit. Give them normal, easily pronounced, meaningful names. After all, you want your readers to discuss your book with their friends and remember the characters names don’t you? You seriously don’t want them to struggle to remember what you called your hero and heroine. And if you’re really good – and very lucky – those character names will stand the test of literary time, like Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Rochester, Scarlett and Rhett all have.

When I’m not naming characters, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

My Writing process; #MfrwAuthors; week 11

So this week, we are talking about our own writing processes, namely, PLOTTING.

I am a plotter. ( When I say that I feel like I’m in a self-help group; “Hi, my name is Peggy and I plot.” 

But, as always, I digress.

So. Plotting. I am a dyed-in-the-wool plotter for several reasons none of which counts more than the other, but just goes to explain why I am the way I am.

  1. I am a Nurse so, therefore have a scientific background. I need to now if I do A, then B or C will happen ahead of time.
  2. I hate to be surprised. I have impulse control issues, so when someone surprises me I never EVER say the right thing or act the appropriate way. I have ruined enough birthday parties and drop-in visits from people to fill a lifetime.
  3. I am a linear thinker. I like going from A to Z in a straight line. It’s logical for me and alleviates anxiety.
  4. I like knowing what will happen to my characters before it happens to them. I have never been the type of writer who says, “My characters just insisted I have them say this or act this way. NO. Not gonna happen to me.
  5. I like, no actually LOVE, being in control. The one thing I have absolute dictator control over in my life is my writing, my characters, and what happens to them.

If I didn’t know where my story was going. what was going to befall my characters, what their storyline was, I think I would write a pretty horrible book.But that’s me…just saying.

When I’m not plotting out my next novel, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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